Gutschow with nuns Dr. Kim Gutschow

Professor, Anthropology of Public Health Center for Modern Indian Studies, Goettingen University, Germany

Lecturer in Religion and Anthropology/Sociology, Williams College, USA

Kim Gutschow is Honorary Editor of Ladakh Studies. She is also Project Coordinator for the NGO Gaden Relief Projects.

Prof. Gutschow's CV (PDF)
Prof. Gutschow's Publications (PDF)
Prof. Gutschow's Research Prospectus (PDF)
Prof. Gutschow's Courses and Seminars (PDF)

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More on Gutschow's Research

Gutschow's current book project investigates the shift of birth between home and hospital and between obstetric and midwifery models of care in rural India and New England. This book confounds simple assumptions about India and the US by contrasting the contrapuntal shift of childbirth towards technology and the hospital in the Indian Himalaya with the shift of childbirth away from technology and back home in New England. It observes that both these shifts are driven by a similar set of obstetric interventions including cesareans, antibiotics, and labor augmentation or induction. While such interventions save lives in India as elsewhere in the developing world, their 'epidemic' use in the US has led to concern and controversy.

A second strand of Gutschow's research explores the relationship between reproduction, religion, and communal identity in India. This project seeks to uncover the individual strategies that constrain access to and use of contraception, abortion, sterilization, and other reproductive technologies in the rural and near‐urban Indian Himalaya. This research attends to the normative rhetoric and political pressures placed on women who access and medical staff who deliver family planning in the mixed Buddhist and Muslim population of Ladakh.

The third strand of Gutschow's research examines the relationship between maternal mortality and access to basic emergency obstetric care in the Indian Himalaya. It combines the two types of maternal death reviews most commonly used in regions with high maternal mortality––verbal autopsies and facility based‐reviews. This research builds on the urgent need to understand why there has been so little progress in reducing maternal mortality and how better to implement maternal health policies in relation to social and cultural contexts.

A fourth strand of Gutschow's research explores the relationship of obstetric interventions to maternal and neonatal mortality in the US. I have interviewed a range of doctors, nurses, and midwives across the East Coast on the use of interventions as well as the putative benefits of cesarean delivery for high‐risk pregnancies such as breech, preterm, and multiples. Most broadly, this research seeks to unpack the clinical and cultural factors that shape this rise in maternal mortality including the rise of multiples, new reproductive technologies, and rising maternal risk factors.

Gutschow has received over $400,000 in research grants between 1990 and 2011 from a variety of donors, including the Humboldt Foundation, Williams College, Harvard University, Harvard Society of Fellows, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Milton Fund, and the Jacob Javitz Foundation.

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Gutschow's Publications about Zangskari Nuns


The Women Who Refuse to Be Exchanged (PDF)
Yeshe's Tibetan Pilgrimage and the Founding of a Himalayan Nunnery (PDF)
The Delusion of Gender and Renunciation in Buddhist Kashmir (PDF)
The Politics of Being Buddhist in Zangskar: Partition and Today (PDF)
How Buddhist Renunciation Produces Difference (PDF)
What Makes a Nun? Apprenticeship and Ritual Passage in Zangskar, North India (PDF)


Being a Buddhist Nun: The Struggle for Enlightenment in the Himalayas
published by the Harvard University Press (2004)

Preview the Preface and Chapter 1: Gendering Monasticism (PDF)