Announcement published by LipokmarDzüvichü on Monday, April 10, 2017
Type: Call for Papers
AreaStudies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies,South Asian History / Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies
Date: 1 – 2 February, 2018
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The idea of frontiers, borders andborderlands have historically constituted important elements of state-making orempire building. This has been an important characteristic of the Asianfrontiers and borderlands. Between the 19th and 20th centuries, the productionof these spaces was shaped by a variety of processes such as relations ofpower, knowledge production, violence, imperial policies, search for resourcesand ideas of space.
Such processes proceeded especially alongthe edges of imperial formations such as British India’s North East frontier,the North West frontier, the Burmese frontier, the Tibetan frontier and theChinese frontier, etc. These aspects of frontier making were however alsoshaped by the important role of capital and the ways in which societies andpolities in these areas negotiated with these developments in multiple ways.
It was in these processes and interactions that one can locate the making of“modern” frontiers and borderlands. In addition, the land frontiers were alsostraddled by coastal and riverine frontiers such as Arakan, Chittagong,Brahmaputra, Mekong etc. In turn, these frontiers were linked to the wideroceanic and land networks, such as the Indian Ocean and the Silk Road, whichconnected these geographies to older networks of exchange as well as to theglobal imperial circulations.
What were the tools through which borderswere historically demarcated and enforced on the ground? In what ways thenature of violence shaped the making of frontiers and borderlands? Whatpractices were instrumental in reshaping the contours of local societies,economies and their historical geographies?
Can land, coastal or riverine frontiers,rather than being perceived as insular and distinct spaces, allow one to rethinkthese geographies in terms of ideas and processes of connected histories? Whatare the practices through which borders are transgressed or unmade?
Focusing on the making and unmaking ofvarious Asian borders, this interdisciplinary conference aims to engage withsome of these questions. Existing research has pointed to how borders matternot just to the states. The effects of borders on the local societies aresignificant, as it creates and defines the idea of subject through economic andpolitical regimes, and regulates even the everyday life in the borderlands.
Some of these aspects continue tocharacterize even contemporary borderlands. Further, different regimes ofeconomies and polities often intersect and operate in the borderland spaces.Rather than being static lines on maps, borders are also constantly unmadethrough the everyday practices of people on the borderlands. Thus, thesestudies also highlight the limits and the paradoxical nature of state power inthe borderlands.
The conference not only seeks to engagewith such existing bodies of work, but also explore new ways of contributing tothis growing field of studies. In this regard, the conference considersfrontiers, borders and borderlands not only as conceptual frames of enquiry, butalso as analytical categories produced at various historical conjunctures.
The conference also seeks to engage withthe importance of comparative study of frontiers and borderlands, such as theNorth East frontier of British India with other frontier areas, and how suchcomparisons can provide important insights on the making and unmaking ofborders in other colonial settings. An important focus of the conference willbe on the everyday experiences of societies and how various actors resisted,negotiated and modified political spaces and relations in the borderlands. Someof the broad themes under which abstracts are invited, but not limited to, areas below:
- making state, drawing borders, practices of violence
- travel, surveys, mapping, explorations
- land, river and coastal frontiers
- frontier objects, capital, illegal networks and global resources
- religious frontiers, millenerial movements
- mobile groups: labours, soldiers, traders, missionaries etc
- migration, ecology, landscape and identity
- world wars, re-imagining frontiers
- nationalism, state and borderlands
- labour economy, development and transnationality
This two day international conference,organized by North East India Studies Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru University,New Delhi, invites submissions from researchers working on the borderlands ofSouth, South East and East Asia. Interested researchers may submit an abstractof 250-300 words, along with a CV to the conference organizers LipokmarDzüvichü (firstname.lastname@example.org)and Manjeet Baruah (email@example.com).
The last date of submission is 15 July,2017. Accepted proposals will be intimated by 1 September, 2017. Participantsfrom outside India are requested to seek funding from their institutions fortravel costs. Local conveyance and accommodation will be provided to theparticipants.
Lipokmar Dzüvichü, Assistant Professor,North East India Studies Programme, School of Social Sciences- I, JawaharlalNehru University, New Delhi – 110067
Manjeet Baruah, AssistantProfessor, North East India Studies Programme, School of Social Sciences -I, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – 110067