Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)Waseda University






Ph.D. (Anthropology)


Assistant Professor


Monthly Spotlight

[Monthly Spotlight] is focusing on a researcher to introduce his/her research.
Managing migration – Expanding our understanding of labor brokerage in Asia SHRESTHA, Tina Assistant Professor

Research Topic

Brokerage and migration infrastructure: Recruitment agencies, educational consultancies, and outmigration interconnecting Nepal to Southeast Asia and East Asia

My research topic explores the emergence, function, and changes of brokerage in the making of migration infrastructures connecting South Asia to Southeast and East Asia. In particular, it examines the role of the Nepali state, employment-recruitment agencies, and educational consultancies facilitating and conditioning outmigration to Malaysia and Japan. Theoretically, it draws on the interdisciplinary debate on the migration industry and low-wage labor-regularization, and specifically, the literature on anthropology of the state and infrastructure, locating employment-recruitment and study-abroad agencies as part of longstanding brokerage practices and/as a form of migration governance within and across Asia.  The project aims to generate ethnographic and comparative data between Nepali migration to Malaysia and Japan on the ways in which differently (and trans-regionally) situated actors in the private and state-run institutions and agencies, interpret meanings and measure moral and legal claims, and negotiate practices tied to brokerage and migration process.

Education and Academic Employment

2003-2005:   Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies, South Asian Studies, Columbia University (USA)
2006-2014:   Doctor or Philosophy in Anthropology, Cornell University (USA)
2013-2014:   Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, The Catholic University of America (USA)
2015:   Postdoctoral Fellow, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University (the Netherlands)
2016-2018:    Postdoctoral Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
2018-2021:    Assistant Professor, WIAS, Waseda University, Tokyo (Japan)

Fields of Research Interests

International Migration and Refugee Regimes
Migration Brokerage and Infrastructure
Anthropology Development
Inter-Asian contexts and connections
Southeast Asian Studies
Nepal and Himalayan Studies

Academic Publications
  • 2019  “Asylum‐Seeking Work, Precariousness, and the Making of Claimant‐Workers”, Anthropology of Work Review, Vol. 40, no. 1  https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/awr.12168
  • 2019  Review of Troubled Transit: Asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia, Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia 175 : 108-112
  • 2018. “Aspirational Infrastructure: Everyday brokerage and the foreign employment-recruitment agencies in Nepal.” Pacific Affairs,Vol. 91, no. 4: 673-693. (December 2018)
  • 2018. “Introduction: Practices of brokerage and the making of migration infrastructures in Asia.” Guest co-editor, Special Issue Journal, Pacific Affairs,Vol. 91, no. 4: 663-672. (December 2018)
  • 2018. [Book Review] Nepali migrant women: Resistance and Survival in America, by Shobha Hamal Gurung. Studies in Nepali History and Society, 23 (1): 234-238
  • 2016   “Kaagaz banaune: The collective practice of moral suffering in the asylum experience of Nepalis in the United States.” Studies in Nepali History and Society 20 (1): 6-30.
  • 2016   Review of The need to help: the domestic arts of international humanitarianism, by Liisa Malkki. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute, 22: 993-994
  • 2015   “‘Learning English, speaking Hindi’: the paradox of language integration among Nepalis in the United States.” In Refugee Resettlement in the United States: Language, Pedagogy, Policy.  Emily Feurherm and Vaidehi Ramanathan, eds. Multilingual Matters: Bristol, U.K.: 95-116.
Other Interests

Affiliated Academic Organizations

American Anthropological Association
American Ethnological Society
International Convention of Asian Scholars
South Asian Studies
Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS)


1) Academic Event Grant, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2016-2017)
2) Academic Research Grant, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2016-2017)
3) Institute for the Social Sciences Research Grant, Cornell University (2011-2013)
4) American Studies Graduate Research Grant and Teaching Fellowship, Cornell University (2010-2012)
5) Institute for the Social Sciences, Graduate Fellow (2011-2012)
Sage Fellowship, Cornell University (2009-2010)
6)Institute for Comparative Modernities Award, Cornell University (2008-2009)

Related articles

LIM, Hyunjung
AIZAWA, Toshiaki
XU, Alison
Page Top
WASEDA University

The Waseda University official website
<<https://www.waseda.jp/inst/wias/en/>> doesn't support your system.

Please update to the newest version of your browser and try again.


Suporrted Browser