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The Heart of Helambu: Ethnography and Entanglement in Nepal

Tom O’Neill

University of Toronto Press, 2016

Over the course of the last twenty-five years, Tom O’Neill has traveled frequently to Kathmandu and the Helambu region of Nepal to undertake ethnographic fieldwork with the Yolmo business owners and carpet weavers of the area. The Heart of Helambu is an evocative and touching account of his experiences working in Nepal during those turbulent times. In his autoethnographic memoir, O’Neill reflects on the complex relationships he developed with his research participants: the carpet weavers, their families, and others in the communities which he studied. A compelling account of ethnographic fieldwork’s personal dimension and the ethical and emotional challenges that come with maintaining relationships across substantial social distances, The Heart of Helambu illustrates an important aspect of anthropological research through O’Neill’s engaging story.

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