Silhouette femme

Urmila Nair  

Ph.D. in Anthropology

Freelance translator

Qualifiée in sections 7 (Sciences of language) & 20 (Anthropology)

Research topics and themes

  • Translation theory
  • Linguistic anthropology
  • Anthropology of religion, ritual studies
  • Tibetan studies
  • Tibetan Buddhist studies



Linguistic anthropology – Tibetan studies – Translation theory



2019-2021 Master’s in editorial, financial and technical translation, École supérieure d’interprètes et de traducteurs (ESIT), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris.
    Title of master’s thesis : La littérature orale en Bretagne.

2001-2010 Master’s and Doctorate in anthropology (specialisation : linguistic anthropology), University of Chicago, United States. Thesis adviser: Michael Silverstein.
Doctoral thesis title: When the Sun’s Rays are as Shadows—the Nechung Rituals and the Politics of Spectacle in Tibetan Exile.

1999-2001 Master’s in anthropology, University of Southern California, United States.

1993-1997 Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering, University of Mumbai, India.


Academic work

2013-2015 Affiliated researcher, MIASU (Mongolian and Inner Asian Studies Unit), University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. (research presentation; part-time lecturer; editorial assistant).

04-06 2013 Visiting fellow, CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), Universite of Cambridge, United Kingdom. (research presentation).

2010-2012 Mellon Postdoctoral fellow, Departement of anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, United States. (research presentation; lecturer).

2008-2012 Graduate student lecturer, Departement of anthropology, University of Chicago, United States.


English, French, Tibetan (work languages);
Spanish, Hindi (C1 level)



To be published. The Secret (gsang ba) in/on Perspective: Studying an Esoteric Exile Tibetan Buddhist Ritual. Semiotics of Perspective. Constantine Nakassis et James Costa (directeurs)

To be published. Compte rendu, Gal, Susan et Judith T. Irvine, Signs of Difference, Cambridge
Cambridge University Press, 2019. Cygne Noir.

2024. Beyond the Secret (gsang ba): The Performativity of Citation in an Exile Tibetan
consideration Ritual. Signs and Society 12(2).

2023. Can the Native Know Language? Viewing linguistic anthropology through Signs of
Difference. L’Homme 245(1): 113 132.

2022. On Benjamin On Translation In Translation: Strategies in Philosophical Translation. In
Nadia Birouk et al (dir.). La Traduction en Sciences Sociales et en Littérature : Représentations et Limites. Pp. 276 286. La Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines-Agadir Université IBN ZOHR Laboratoire interdisciplinaire des sciencessociales. ISBN 978-9920-615-47-1.

2021. La littérature orale en Bretagne. Analyse traductologique et traduction de l’article
« La gwerz de Louis le Ravallec » par l’ethnologue Donatien Laurent. Linguistique.

2013. Compte rendu, Arnold, Daniel, Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind, 328 p. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Religion and Society: Advances in Research 4 (2013): 204–207.

2013. Compte rendu, Lempert, Michael, Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in
a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, 216 p. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (2013): 109-111.



To be published. Filiâtre, Jean Christophe and Sylvain Conchon. Learn to Program with OCaml. Traduit par Urmila Nair. Paris : Fondation OCaml.

To be published. Pernot, Morgann. Stifling relations – Women’s sociability in Djibouti’s Yemeni community during wartime. Traduit par Urmila Nair. In Striking from the Margins. London: I.B. Tauris – Bloomsbury.

To be published. Vapnarsky, Valentina. Ritual Speech and the Transformation of Time. 2022 Blondeau, Anne-Marie. Some Preliminary Questions regarding the mDos Rituals. Traduit par Urmila Nair. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research. 59: 1-27.

2021. de Potestad, Pierre. “Tracks and Traces of Mont Blanc’s Itineraries: an Approach Through Wayfaring,” Journal of Alpine Research | Revue de géographie alpine [En ligne], 108–3|2020. Traduit par Urmila Nair.


Personal website

Skip to content