Bühnemann to talk about Nepal earthquake

Gudrun Bühnemann, a scholar of Buddhism and Hinduism, first visited Nepal in 1979 and has returned regularly to the Kathmandu Valley, home to an array of historic temples and monuments, to continue her study of Sanskrit texts and manuscripts.

Several cultures and religions intersect in the small Himalayan nation, which is nestled between India and China. The Kathmandu Valley, Nepal’s cultural center, is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bühnemann’s work has taken on a new purpose. Her most recent visit, last July, came just months after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal.

The April 25 quake killed more than 9,000 people, and was followed by a strong aftershock on May 12 and a series of minor aftershocks. More than 30 Kathmandu Valley monuments collapsed, and another 120 sustained damage.

Bühnemann, professor in the departments of Languages and Cultures of Asia and East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will discuss the damage to these historic sites and the efforts to rebuild, on Thursday, January 28, at noon, in 206 Ingraham Hall. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Center for South Asia.

During her 2015 trip, Bühnemann surveyed damage to cultural sites she considers especially relevant to her work.

“Scholars like myself have studied and documented ancient monuments in the Kathmandu Valley,” says Bühnemann. “The photographs of monuments taken before the earthquake have become important documents that will help architects to reconstruct lost buildings.”

Read more: Professor looks to future of damaged artifacts in Nepal, University Communications, September 10, 2015