Sierra Josephine Louise Humbert

Sierra Josephine Louise Humbert

PhD fellow

PhD project

Sanitary Rituals: Experiences of Sanitary Waste within Vajrayana Buddhist pilgrimage in Sankhu, Nepal

Funded by Velux Foundations
Project period: 2022 - 2025
PhD supervisor: Trine Brox
Centre for Contemporary Buddhist Studies

My PhD project Sanitary Rituals aims to situate sanitary waste within contemporary religious practices and understandings through an ethnographic account of experiences of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for female pilgrims to Vajrayogini Temple in Sankhu, Nepal.

Working on a three-month waste management project in Sankhu, Nepal, I learnt from residents that despite the Blue Waste2Value scheme, a social enterprise addressing solid waste, sanitary waste remains an unaddressed problem. My research centres on the experiences, attitudes and influences that inform consumption practices and sanitary waste for female pilgrims to Vajrayogini temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists in Sankhu.

As part of my PhD, I will produce an ethnographic account of women’s experiences of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in Sankhu, focusing on the relationship between Newar Buddhist ritual practices, sacred spaces and sanitary waste imaginaries and practices. The project aims to inform NGO and local authority action by addressing the practical challenges concerning sanitary waste that Newar women, and women internationally, navigate daily.

The PhD project is part of the collective research project Waste: Consumption and Buddhism in the Age of Garbage, PI Trine Brox.

ID: 291855255