What happens to a community when the majority of young people leave their homes to pursue an education? From a Trickle to a Torrent documents the demographic and social consequences of educational migration from Nubri, a Tibetan enclave in the highlands of Nepal. Co-authored by Geoff Childs, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences and Washington University anthropology doctoral graduate Namgyal Choedup, the book explores parents’ motivations for sending their children to distant schools and monasteries, social connections that shape migration pathways, young people’s estrangement from village life, and dilemmas that arise when educated individuals are unable or unwilling to return and reside in their native villages. Drawing on numerous decades of research, this study documents a transitional period when the future of a Himalayan society teeters on the brink of irreversible change.
“Unlike much of the literature on migration and social change, this work pays careful, nuanced attention to how such education-driven outmigration transforms the experiences of those who stay home as well as those who leave, those who return, and those who strive to imagine futures that posit so-called marginal homelands and well-known cosmopolitan places as fundamentally interconnected.”—Sienna Craig, author of Healing Elements: Efficacy and the Social Ecologies of Tibetan Medicine
“In lucid and vivid prose, Geoff Childs and Namgyal Choedup tell a poignant story of educational outmigration from rural Himalayan Nepal. Deftly mixing methods and levels of analysis, and drawing on over two decades of longitudinal research, From a Trickle to a Torrent demonstrates the power of a truly anthropological demography to explain the hidden causes and costs of human movement.”—Michael Lempert, author of Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery