Rich-Zendel, Sarah



Email Address


International Relations


Development Studies


Ron Levi
Jennifer Nedelsky

Rich-Zendel, Sarah


Between Rights and Taboo: How Institutions Mediate the Transformation of Sexual Norms in Nepal


Sarah’s dissertation looks at how sexual norms are changing in Nepal through the policies and practices in the education, health and media sectors. Sarah has lived in Nepal on and off for the past twelve years. During this time, she has designed and managed several research projects, including, her SSHRC-funded MA that critically analyzes fair trade and gender empowerment programs in three regions of Nepal. She is also the senior research manager of a multi-year experimental study on the efficacy of human trafficking and migration awareness campaigns in Nepal conducted by York University and Vanderbilt University. In addition to her dissertation, Sarah is an active member of the communities where she lives. She has been involved in organizing around women’s and sexual rights, prison abolition and, most recently, disaster recovery. After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, she took a break from her dissertation to co-coordinate Circle of Health International’s response. This involved working with women’s groups in her Nepali community to conduct a post-disaster assessment of women’s needs. She also volunteers at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. Through her research and community work, Sarah has had the opportunity to host and produce radio programs, script a graphic novel and, facilitate conversations about sexuality.


Rich-Zendel, Sarah (2013). Unraveling Fair Trade: Insights from Women Weavers in Nepal. Studies in Nepali History and Society 18(2): 305-327.

Research Interests

Sexual Politics, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, International Relations, Critical Development Studies, Nepal.

Previous Degrees

(2011) University of Calgary, Master of Arts, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
Disciplines: Sociology, International Political Economy, International Development

(2007) University of Calgary, Bachelor of Arts with Distinction, International Indigenous Studies

Teaching Experience

Critical Issues in Politics, Introduction to International Relations, Globalization and Governance, Politics of South Asia, Global Civil Society, and Gender and Development.