Åshild Kolås

Research Professor

Åshild Kolås
Email: ashild@prio.org
Work phone: +47 22 54 77 68
Twitter: @AshildKolas
Website: www.researchgate.net

Research Interests

Currently working on identity, representation, sovereignty, governance and digital politics. 


Åshild Kolås is a social anthropologist and Research Professor at PRIO. She has carried out fieldwork in multi-ethnic communities in India and China, and has written on Tibet, Nepal, Inner Mongolia and Northeast India with a focus on governance and governmentality, identity politics, discourse and representation. Among her latest books are Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar: Between Feminism and Ethnopolitics (Routledge, 2019) and Sovereignty Revisited: The Basque Case (Routledge, 2017, co-edited with Pedro Ibarra Güell). She is also the author of Tourism and Tibetan Culture in Transition. A Place Called Shangrila (Routledge, 2008) and On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier (University of Washington Press, 2005; 2015, with Monika P. Thowsen). She was the head of PRIOs Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding Program from 2005 to 2011. From 2006 to 2018, she coordinated an institutional cooperation between PRIO and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi. She currently leads the project e-Topia: China, India and Biometric Borders, funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN). She serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of International Development and Vice President of the Interdisciplinary Studies Section of the International Studies Association (ISA), and is also a member of the editorial board of the European Bulletin of Himalayan Research (EBHR) and Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

Research Groups

Full member:
Associated member:

PRIO Departments


PRIO Projects



PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.

Recent Publications

Brazys, Samuel; Arusha Cooray; Åshild Kolås & Krishna Vadlamannati (2021) Editorial: New conversations in development studies, Journal of International Development 33(6): 947–952.

All Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Kolås, Åshild & Lacin Idil Oztig (2021) From towers to walls: Trump’s border wall as entrepreneurial performance, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. DOI: 10.1177/23996544211003097.
Kolås, Åshild (2018) Northeast Indian Enigmas, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 42(3): 99–106.
Kolås, Åshild (2017) Truth and Indigenous Cosmopolitics in Shangrila, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 18(1): 1–20.
Kolås, Åshild (2017) How critical is the event? Multicultural Norway after 22 July 2011, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 23(2): 1–15.
Fangen, Katrine & Åshild Kolås (2016) The "Syria traveller": Reintegration or legal sanctioning?, Critical Studies on Terrorism 9(3): 414–432.
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Framing the tribal: Ethnic violence in Northeast India, Asian Ethnicity 18(1): 22–37.
Kolås, Åshild (2014) Mothers and Activists in the Hills of Assam, Economic and Political Weekly 49(43): 41–48.
Kolås, Åshild (2014) Degradation Discourse and Green Governmentality in the Xilinguole Grasslands of Inner Mongolia, Development and Change 45(2): 308–328.
Kolås, Åshild (2013) Indigenous Rights, Sovereignty and Resource Governance in the Arctic, Strategic Analysis 37(4): 499–504.
Kolås, Åshild (2011) Naga Militancy and Violent Politics in the Shadow of Ceasefire, Journal of Peace Research 48(6): 781–792.
Kolås, Åshild (2011) Reclaiming the Forest: Ewenki Reindeer Herding as Exception, Human Organization 70(4): 397–404.
Miklian, Jason; Kristoffer Lidén & Åshild Kolås (2011) The Perils of ‘Going Local’: Liberal Peace-building Agendas in Nepal, Conflict, Security & Development 11(3): 285–308.
Kolås, Åshild (2011) GAVI and Hepatitis B Immunisation in India, Global Public Health 6(1): 28–40.
Xie, Yuanyuan & Åshild Kolås (2010) Jin sanshi nian lai nuowei sami ren shenfen diwei de bianhua [Changes in the status of Norwegian Sami identity in the past thirty years], Shijie Minzu [World Ethno-National Studies] 2010(3): 81–90.
Kolås, Åshild (2010) The 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks: (Re-)Constructing Indian (Counter-)Terrorism, Critical Studies on Terrorism 3(1): 83–98.
Kolås, Åshild & Jason Miklian (2009) Managing Intractable Conflict: Indian Strategies, Journal of Conflict Management and Development 3(3): 1–20.
Kolås, Åshild (2007) Burma in the Balance: The Geopolitics of Gas, Strategic Analysis 31(4): 625–643.
Kolås, Åshild (2004) Tourism and the Making of Place in Shangri-La , Tourism Geographies 6(3): 262–279.
Kolås, Åshild (2003) "Class" in Tibet: Creating Social Order Before and During the Mao Era, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 10(2): 181–200.
Kolås, Åshild (1996) Tibetan Nationalism: The Politics of Religion, Journal of Peace Research 33(1): 51–66.

PhD Thesis

Kolås, Åshild (2004) Ethnic tourism in Shangrila. Representations of place and Tibetan identity. PhD thesis, Supervisors: Thomas Hylland Eriksen, UiO; Stein Tønnesson, PRIO (completed August 2004), .


Kolås, Åshild & Monika Thowsen (2005) On the Margins of Tibet: Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier. Seattle, WT: University of Washington Press.

Book Chapter

Kolås, Åshild & Leitanthem Umakanta Meitei (2019) Women in Myanmar's ethnic armed organizations: numbers and narratives, in Åshild Kolås, ed., Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar: Between Feminism and Ethnopolitics. London: Routledge (97–107).
Kolås, Åshild & Tashi Nyima (2019) Pastoralism in Tibet Today: A Study of Pastoral Policy and Practice, in The State of Ecology of the Tibetan Plateau. New Delhi: Academic Foundation (185–198).
Kolås, Åshild (2019) Women, peace and security in Myanmar: The map and the terrain, in Åshild Kolås, ed., Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar: Between Feminism and Ethnopolitics. London: Routledge (1–17).
Upadhyaya, Priyankar & Åshild Kolås (2018) Part I: Perspectives from Peace Research, in Priyankar Upadhyaya, ed., Long Walk of Peace: Towards a Culture of Prevention. Paris: UNESCO (29–69).
Kolås, Åshild (2018) Forståelsen av 22. juli [Understanding 22 July], in Henrik Syse, ed., Norge etter 22. juli: Forhandlinger om verdier, identiteter og et motstandsdyktig samfunn [Norway After July 22, 2011 Negotiating values, identities and a resilient society]. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk (109–125).
Kolås, Åshild (2017) Introduction: Basque sovereignty revisited, in Kolås, Åshild; & Pedro Ibarra Güell, eds, Sovereignty Revisited: the Basque Case. London: Routledge (1-19).
Kolås, Åshild & Torunn L. Tryggestad (2017) Introduction: Women, Peace and Security in Review, in Åshild Kolås, ed., Women, Peace and Security: from Civil War to Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Abingdon: Routledge (1-8).
Kolås, Åshild (2017) Introduction: Women, Peace and Security in Northeast India, in Åshild Kolås, ed., Women, Peace and Security in Northeast India. New Delhi: Zubaan Academic (ix-xxiii).
Shrestha, Gitta; Bishnu Raj Upreti & Åshild Kolås (2017) Women, Peace and Security: The Case of Nepal, in Åshild Kolås, ed., Women, Peace and Security in Nepal: from Civil War to Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Abingdon: Routledge (99–123).
Kolås, Åshild (2016) Sovereignty at the Frontiers: Contests and Contradictions, in Dilip Gogoi, ed., Unheeded Hinterland: Identity and Sovereignty In Northeast India. New Delhi: Routledge India (17–29).
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Introduction. Writing the “Reindeer Ewenki”, in Reclaiming the Forest. the Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn (1–17).
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Ambiguities of the Aoluguya Ewenki, in Reclaiming the Forest. the Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn (61–76).
Kolås, Åshild (2014) Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: Ideas, Approaches and Debates, in Kumar, Samrat Schmiem; & Priyankar Upadhyaya, eds, Peace and Conflict - the South Asian Experience. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India (1–22).
Kolås, Åshild & Jason Miklian (2013) Facing the future: Responding to human security in India, in Miklian, Jason; & Åshild Kolås, eds, India's Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. London: Routledge (227–235).
Kolås, Åshild & Jason Miklian (2013) Introduction, in Miklian, Jason; & Åshild Kolås, eds, India's Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. London: Routledge (1–12).
Kolås, Åshild & Camilla Buzzi (2010) Northeast India and Myanmar: Looking East towards a Dead-End?, in Dilip Gogoi, ed., Beyond Borders: Look East Policy & Northeast India. Guwahati: DVS Publishers (148–165).
Kolås, Åshild & Monika Thowsen (2003) Dilemmas of Education in Tibetan Areas Outside the TAR, in China at the Turn of the 21st Century. Stockholm: Nordic Association for China Studies (131–148).

Edited Volume

Kazi, Reshmi; & Åshild Kolås, eds, (2019) India in Global Nuclear Governance. London: Routledge.
Kolås, Åshild (ed.) (2019) Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar: Between Feminism and Ethnopolitics. London: Routledge.
Upreti, Bishnu Raj; Debendra Prasad Adhikari; Sharmila Shivakoti; & Åshild Kolås, eds, (2018) Nepalko Rajnitma Mahila: Donda Bebasthapandekhi Sambidhan Karyannonsamma [Women in Nepali Politics: From Conflict Management to implementation of the Constitution]. Nepal: Bhrikuti Academic Press.
Kolås, Åshild (ed.) (2017) Women, Peace and Security in Northeast India. New Delhi: Zubaan Books.
Kolås, Åshild; & Pedro Ibarra Güell, eds, (2017) Sovereignty Revisited: The Basque Case. London: Routledge. Routledge Studies in Radical History and Politics.
Ibarra Güell, Pedro; & Åshild Kolås, eds, (2016) Basque Nationhood: Towards a Democratic Scenario. Oxford: Peter Lang. Nationalisms Across the Globe.
Kolås, Åshild; & Yuanyuan Xie, eds, (2015) Reclaiming the Forest. The Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn.
Kolås, Åshild; & Zha Luo, eds, (2013) Pastoralism in Contemporary China: Policy and Practice. Beijing: Social Science Academic Press.
Miklian, Jason; & Åshild Kolås, eds, (2013) India's Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. London: Routledge. Routledge Studies in South Asian Politics.

Non-refereed Journal Article

Brazys, Samuel; Arusha Cooray; Åshild Kolås & Krishna Vadlamannati (2021) Editorial: New conversations in development studies, Journal of International Development 33(6): 947–952.
Kolås, Åshild (2012) What's up with the territorial council?, Seminar New Delhi: a Monthly Symposium(640): 2–7.
Kolås, Åshild & Camilla Buzzi (2010) India-Burma Relations Hitting a Dead End?, The Irrawaddy 18(3).
Kolås, Åshild (2010) Theories of Conflict Resolution: Lessons for Northeast India?, Politeia: Annual Journal of North-East India Political Science Association 2009(1): 32–53.
Kolås, Åshild (2007) China in African Oil: Guilty as Charged?, EPS Quarterly 20(2): 6–8.
Kolås, Åshild (2005) Militant islamisme og 'legitim' vold [Militant Islamism and 'Legitimate' Violence], Babylon. Tidsskrift om Midtøsten og Nord-Afrika 3(2): 24–31.
Kolås, Åshild (2003) Vill Vest i Kina [China's Wild West], Verdensmagasinet X 12(5): 24–25.
Kolås, Åshild (2003) Teaching Tibetan in Tibet: Bilingual Education is Survival, Cultural Survival Quarterly 27(3): 67–71.
Kolås, Åshild (1998) Chinese Media Discources on Tibet: The Language of Inequality, Tibet Journal 23(3): 70–77.

Popular Article

Kolås, Åshild & Camilla Buzzi (2009) Suverenitetens grenser [The Limits of Sovereignty], Ny Tid, 17 April.
Kolås, Åshild (2009) Veien etter Indias 9/11 [In the Aftermath of India's 9/11 ], Ny Tid, 6 March.

PRIO Report

Kolås, Åshild; Uttam Kumar Sinha; Jason Miklian; Ruchita Beri; Elida K. U. Jacobsen; Reshmi Kazi; Priyankar Upadhyaya; Rajiv Nayan; Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya; & Ida Roland Birkvad (2018) India in the World: Emerging Perspectives on Global Challenges, PRIO Project Summary. Oslo: PRIO.
Erdal, Marta Bivand; Rojan Tordhol Ezzati; Katrine Fangen; Thomas Lacroix; Åshild Kolås; Mette Strømsø; & Michael Collyer (2017) Negotiating the Nation: Implications of Ethnic and Religious Diversity for National Identity, PRIO Project Summary. Oslo: PRIO.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Katherine Edelen; Jason Miklian; Silje Holen; Joyeeta Bhattacharjee; Line Barkved; Farzana Jahan; Hari Bansh Jha; & Åshild Kolås (2013) Water Scarcity in Bangladesh. Transboundary Rivers, Conflict and Cooperation, PRIO Report, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Conference Paper

Kolås, Åshild (2015) Sovereignty revisited: The Basque case, presented at International Workshop on ‘A Multidisciplinary Approach to Processes of Sovereignty Construction: The Basque Case’, Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL), 14–15 May 2015.
Shrestha, Gitta; Åshild Kolås & Bishnu Raj Upreti (2013) Making Women Count for Peace: Gender, Empowerment and Conflict in Nepal, presented at the conference on ‘The Gender Dimensions of Armed Violence’, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, 25 February 2013.
Kolås, Åshild (2012) (De)constructing the Non-State Army: Making Sense of Insurgency in Northeast India, presented at European Association of Social Anthropologists EASA 2012: Uncertainty and disquiet, Nanterre, France, 10–13 July.
Kolås, Åshild 2011 Constructing the Non-State Army: Making Sense of Armed Conflict in Northeast India, presented at The Local in Global Understandings of War and Peacemaking: Anthropological and Inter-disciplinary Perspectives, , 1–2 September.
Kolås, Åshild 2009 Lost in a State of Exceptions: Ewenki Reindeer Herders in China, presented at Annual conference of the Norwegian Association for Development Research, , 24 November.
Kolås, Åshild; & Buzzi, Camilla 2008 Northeast India and Myanmar: Looking East towards a Dead-End?, presented at Borders and Beyond: The Northeast in India’s Security and Foreign Policy, , 21 February.
Kolås, Åshild 2008 Hill-valley Dynamics in Northeast India: A Research Agenda, presented at Asian Borderlands Research Network International Conference on Northeast India and its Transnational Neighbourhood, , 18 January.
Kolås, Åshild (2005) Different Cultures, Different Rights: Approaches to Culture in a Minority Rights Framework, presented at Cultural and Minority Rights, EU Research Training Network on Applied Global Justice, Oxford, 3–5 June.
Kolås, Åshild (2003) ”Welcome to Shangri-La”: The making of place in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, presented at Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS X), Aris Trust Centre, Oxford University, 6–12 September.
Kolås, Åshild (2003) Ethnic Tourism in China: Renegotiating the Meanings of "Minzu", presented at the Nordic Conference on China Studies, Association for China Studies, University of Oslo, 19 June.

PRIO Policy Brief

Kolås, Åshild & Leitanthem Umakanta Meitei (2019) Women in Ethnic Armed Organizations in Myanmar: Numbers and narratives, GPS Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Kazi, Reshmi & Åshild Kolås (2017) Nuclear India: The energy perspective, PRIO Policy Brief, 8. Oslo: PRIO.
Jacobsen, Elida K. U.; Åshild Kolås & Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya (2017) Food for a Growing India, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Sinha, Uttam; Åshild Kolås & Jason Miklian (2017) India in Climate Change Negotiations, PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.
Kolås, Åshild (2017) Sovereignty™, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Upreti, Bishnu Raj & Åshild Kolås (2016) Women in Nepal’s Transition, PRIO Policy Brief, 11. Oslo: PRIO.
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Women's Empowerment in India: From participation to political agency, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Kolås, Åshild (ed.) (2017) Report on India’s Climate Mitigation and Adaptation: Key Strategies, INDWORLD Conference Report. Oslo: PRIO.
Kolås, Åshild; & Legia Lyngdoh (2012) Gender, Empowerment and Conflict: Experiences from Northeast India, Workshop on Gender, Empowerment and Conflict. Oslo: PRIO.
Kolås, Åshild; & Stein Tønnesson (2006) Burma and Its Neighbours: The Geopolitics of Gas, Austral Policy Forum. Melbourne.
Tønnesson, Stein; & Åshild Kolås (2006) Energy Security in Asia: China, India, Oil and Peace, Report to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oslo: PRIO.

Book Review

Kolås, Åshild (2018) Review of Miaoyan Yang, ed., Learning to Be Tibetan: The Construction of Ethnic Identity at Minzu University of China, in The China Journal 80: 123–125.
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Review of The Arctic Contested, in International Affairs 91(2): 423–424.
Kolås, Åshild (2008) Review of Charlene Makley, ed., The Violence of Liberation: Gender and Tibetan Buddhist Revival in Post-Mao China, in Asian Studies Review 32(4): 537–539.

Blog Posts

Corona Apps – Going Global

Posted by Mareile Kaufmann, Åshild Kolås & Arijit Sen on Thursday, 30 September 2021

On 8 April 2020, less than a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was a pandemic, Mareile Kaufmann posted a PRIO blog entitled “Corona Apps – Where Are We Headed?” on the use of digital tools in the “war against corona”, asking what the ... Read more »

On the Road to Peace: Wenche Iren Hauge Interviewed by Åshild Kolås

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Wednesday, 18 November 2020

In my experience, successful peace processes are marked by close interaction between actors who engage with the process for a long time, know the conflict and the parties well, and gain their trust. Trust is more important than anything else. The long-term actors might be from NGOs or from civil ... Read more »

COVID-19 puts India’s e-governance infrastructure and innovation to the test

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya on Monday, 28 September 2020

India’s e-governance and digitalization drive harnesses ‘smart’ technology in an effort to generate new economic opportunities, boost economic growth, govern more efficiently with less corruption, and distribute relief and benefits to the poor and disadvantaged more effectively. In April 2015, India’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister ... Read more »

What to Expect from India at COP23?

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Uttam Sinha on Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Climate change is not a one-way street of cause and effect. International negotiations on climate change and the reduction of emissions are equally complex. A consistent Indian demand has been  green technology transfer from “high-emitting” developed countries. An equally longstanding principle is that of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities, ... Read more »


Posted by Åshild Kolås on Tuesday, 18 July 2017

In addition to states, a wide range of actors are involved in the performance of sovereignty today, including private security companies, civil society movements, militant groups, multinational corporations, international non-governmental organizations, and multilateral agencies. Terms such as popular, hybrid, public-private, graduated, shared, parallel and social sovereignty have been used to describe their state-like practices. As people, citizens and consumers, we are more ... Read more »

Digital India: Less Cash, but not Cashless

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Elida Kristine Undrum Jacobsen on Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The past month has seen historic events in India. On Tuesday 8 November 2016, the Modi government announced without prior warning that all 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes would be rendered valueless more or less overnight. In effect, this meant immediate withdrawal of the largest bank notes in circulation, ... Read more »

India’s Membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime

Posted by Rajiv Nayan & Åshild Kolås on Thursday, 18 August 2016

India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 27 June 2016. The MTCR is an informal and voluntary association of suppliers of ballistic and cruise missiles capable of delivering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and other unmanned aerial vehicles. It was established in 1987 with ... Read more »

Peace is a Process

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Priyankar Upadhyaya on Wednesday, 29 June 2016

On 21 June 2016, UNESCO hosted a path-breaking Consultative Meeting on the contribution of the UN system to the promotion of peace. The meeting was attended by heads of 28 United Nations entities (programmes, funds, specialized agencies and bodies), who discussed the advancement of the global peace agenda and took ... Read more »

The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in ... Read more »

Syria Travellers and Security Threats

Posted by Åshild Kolås & Katrine Fangen on Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Foreign fighters returning from Syria have emerged as a looming security threat in many European countries, so also in Norway. As well as preventive measures against radicalization and mobilization by the Islamic State, there have been calls for the withdrawal of citizenship and deportation of returned foreign fighters. This raises a number of questions: Are Norwegians more secure ... Read more »

The ‘Sovereign’ according to Ola Tunander

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Monday, 30 May 2016

On Friday 27 May 2016, PRIO celebrated Ola Tunander’s 30-year academic career with a seminar on ‘Sovereignty, Subs and PSYOPS’, and a reception. The celebration was, of course, focused on Ola and his work, spanning topics from the geopolitics and organic state theory of Rudolf Kjellén to the 27 October ... Read more »

Women’s Empowerment in India

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Monday, 11 May 2015

From participation to political agency Women’s empowerment and equal participation in political life is important at all levels of Indian society. Despite benefitting from reservations, women frequently experience obstacles when they participate in politics. However, to address women’s aspirations for political agency we should explore the emerging opportunities, and not ... Read more »

Earthquake in Nepal and we are Safe

Posted by Åshild Kolås on Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Peace researchers often have the opportunity to witness the ‘real world’ of conflict and post-conflict during fieldwork in countries such as Nepal. In some cases we also cooperate with local institutions where we benefit from working with fellow peace researchers and other partners. In Nepal we have had the great ... Read more »

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