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Dr. C.H. (Tina) Harris

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas
Photographer: Bastiaan Heus

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B5.05
Postal address
  • Postbus 15509
    1001 NA Amsterdam
  • Profile


    Tina Harris received her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2009 from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, and is a member of the AISSR Moving Matters research group.

    Research interests

    Her main research interests include aviation, infrastructures, globalization in Asia, and the movement of people and goods across borders. She has conducted field research in Tibet, Nepal, India, and the Netherlands, and has published articles on the pressures of controlling air traffic, borderland airports, and competing discourses over the reopening of a Sino-Indian mountain border. She is author of Geographical Diversions: Tibetan Trade, Global Transactions (UGa Press 2013), a book that examines how state power is both articulated and circumvented by cross-border traders in the Himalayas.

    Geographical diversions

    Working at the intersections of cultural anthropology, human geography, and material culture, Tina Harris explores the social and economic transformations taking place along one trade route that winds its way across China, Nepal, Tibet, and India.  How might we make connections between seemingly mundane daily life and more abstract levels of global change?

    Geographical Diversions focuses on two generations of traders who exchange goods such as sheep wool, pang gdan aprons, and more recently, household appliances. Exploring how traders "make places," Harris examines the creation of geographies of trade that work against state ideas of what trade routes should look like. She argues that the tensions between the apparent fixity of national boundaries and the mobility of local individuals around such restrictions are precisely how routes and histories of trade are produced.  

    The economic rise of China and India has received attention from the international media, but the effects of major new infrastructure at the intersecting borderlands of these nationstates—in places like Tibet, northern India, and Nepal—have rarely been covered. Geographical Diversions challenges globalization theories based on bounded conceptions of nation-states and offers a smaller-scale perspective that differs from many theories of macroscale economic change. 

  • Research

    Current research projects

    I am working on a new research project on aviation that will investigate how people working in air traffic management, route planning, and operations sectors are dealing with the recent shifts in global air travel against the backdrop of increasing climate concerns. I also have a number of articles (for instance, "Air Pressure: Temporal Hierarchies in Nepali Aviation;" "Trading Places: New Economic Geographies of Trade Across Himalayan Borderlands;" "Himalayan Border Crossings: Reopenings and Restrictions") and a full-length book manuscript (Geographical Diversions) based on my research on contemporary trade and trade routes in Tibet.

  • Related Activities
  • Teaching and supervision

    Selected courses

    • Technologies and Infrastructures (BA Anthropology)
    • Theory of Ethnographic Research/Fieldwork Seminar (MA Research Masters Social Sciences)
    • Perceptions of Asia (BA Anthropology)
    • Designing Fieldwork (MA Anthropology)
    • Comparative History and Sociology (BA Anthropology)
    • Mobility, Migration, Security (MA International Development Studies)
    • Research Methods and Design (MA Contemporary Asian Studies)
    • Thesis Seminar (MA Contemporary Asian Studies)


  • Publications





    • Harris, T. (2021). Air Pressure: Temporal Hierarchies in Nepali Aviation. Cultural Anthropology, 36(1), 83-109. [details]
    • Harris, T. (2021). Onwards and Upwards: Aerial Development Zones in Nepal. In Development Zones in Asian Borderlands (pp. 55-71). Amsterdam University Press.



    • Harris, T. (2018). Cross-Border Commodities: Processual Histories, Commodity Chains, and the Yak Tail Trade. In A. Horstmann, M. Saxer, & A. Rippa (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands (pp. 106-113). (Routledge handbooks). Routledge. [details]





    • Harris, T. (2014). Tracing trade: contemporary transformations of space and place in the Himalayas. In H. Alff, & A. Benz (Eds.), Tracing connections: explorations of spaces and places in Asian contexts (pp. 41-52). Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin. [details]
    • Harris, T. (2014). Yak tails, Santa Claus, and transnational trade in the Himalayas. The Tibet Journal, 39(1), 145-155. [details]





    • Harris, C. H. (2007). Towards a Geographical Anthropology of Trade in the Himalayas. In Michael Gervers, Uradyn Bulag, & Gillian Long (Eds.), Traders and Trade Routes of Central and Inner Asia, Then and Now (pp. 189-206). (Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia; No. 8). University of Toronto.








    • Harris, C. H., & Rapport, E. (2007). [Review of: Music of the Silk Road; The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 8(3), 275-277.

    Prize / grant

    • Harris, T. (2015). Shortlist - ICAS Book Prize, Best Book in the Social Sciences.

    Membership / relevant position

    • Harris, C. H. (2014). member of the IIAS (International Institute for Asian Studies) Board, IIAS.
    • Harris, C. H. (2013). Editorial Board, Himalaya, Himalaya Journal.

    Media appearance

    Talk / presentation

    • Harris, T. (speaker) (29-10-2022). Infrastructural Shapeshifting and Mobile Lives, Global Mobility Humanities Conference.
    • Harris, T. (invited speaker) (12-10-2018). Air Pressure: Time and Aviation in Nepal, University of British Columbia.
    • Harris, T. (invited speaker) (7-9-2018). What Can We Learn from Ethnographies of Infrastructure?, University of Oxford.
    • Harris, C. H. (invited speaker) (29-1-2016). Transnational Trade in the Himalayas, Columbia University, New York..
    • Harris, C. H. (invited speaker) (28-1-2016). Skirmish Season: Bordering Practices in the Himalayas, Weatherhead East Asia Institute, Columbia University, New York.
    • Harris, T. (invited speaker) (7-12-2015). Time, Space, and Transition in the Himalayan Borderlands, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Colloquium Series, Guwahati, Assam, India.
    • Harris, T. (invited speaker) (17-8-2015). Introductory Lecture on Asia, at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Den Haag.


    • Harris, T. (other) (31-10-2020). Lecture Performance at Mediamatic (other).
    • Harris, T. (participant) (27-8-2019 - 29-8-2019). Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society. Manufacturing Aeromobilities: Infrastructures, Displacement, and the Extra-sectoral Costs of Air-Enabled Worlds” with Weiqiang Lin (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, T. (participant) (13-8-2018 - 15-8-2018). Asian Borderlands Research Network Conference, Bishkek. Conference Organiser (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (organiser) (2016). Asian Borderlands Research Conference, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (participant) (8-12-2014 - 10-12-2014). at City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Organizer: Asian Borderlands Conference (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • van Schendel, H. W. (other) & Harris, C. H. (other) (2014). Book series editor: Asian Borderlands, Amsterdam University Press (other).
    • van Schendel, H. W. (organiser) & Harris, C. H. (organiser) (16-11-2013 - 18-11-2013). Conference 'Anomie in Asia', University of Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan). Co-organiser (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (participant) (15-10-2013). Development Studies Lecture Series, SOAS, SOAS, London. Invited Lecture, "Himalayan Border Crossings" (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (participant) (20-6-2013). Crossing Borders Conference, Centre for Development Studies (ZELF), Freie Universität Berlin. Invited Keynote Lecture: "Tracing Connections - Explorations of Spaces and Places in Asian Multilocalities" (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (participant) (6-4-2013). Tracing Transnational Trade in 20th Century Kalimpong, University of Toronto-Scarborough. Invited Lecture, "Lamas, Spies, Gentleman Scholars, and Trans-Himalayan Traders: The Meeting of Religion, Colonialism, Politics, and Economics in (…) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Harris, C. H. (participant) (11-10-2012 - 13-10-2013). Organizer: 3rd Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, Singapore (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities