Apr
17
to Apr 19

Yunnan-Burma-Bengal Corridor: Process Geographies in the Making of Modern Asia

Joint International Publishing Workshop, April 17-19, 2018

 

Yunnan-Burma-Bengal Corridor:

Process Geographies in the Making of Modern Asia

 

Yunnan Minzu University – Linnaeus University

 

The interconnection of Bengal, Burma, and Yunnan has a long history in both human and environmental terms. Since the advent of modern era in the 18th century, the variety and complexity of pathways, corridors, and networks of livelihood-making, commerce, religions, political systems, and ethno-linguistic families have become ever highlighted in colonial encounters, changing political systems, inter-ethnic flows of natural resources and human labors, and academic research. The works of Edmund Leach (1954), James Scott (2009), Willem van Schendel (2004; 2005), Gunnel Cederlöf (2008; 2014), Mandy Sadan (2013), Jean Michaud (2010; 2017), David Ludden (2003), C. Patterson Giersch (2006), Arupjyoti Saikia (2011), Bin Yang (2004), Dan Smyer Yü and Jean Michaud (2017), and more, all attest to the deep entanglement of the three regions and their wider connectivity with the eastern Himalayas, Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The transregionality and bordered connectivity of each of the three regions have simultaneously taken place in the modern era. 

 

This workshop aims to produce an interdisciplinary publication woven together with inter-related case studies and theoretical works with a focus on the concurrence of connectivity and disconnectivity between the three regions as a highly pronounced transregional characteristic in modern times. Invited participants are encouraged to address these questions: How did interregional caravan trade routes and commodities thread multiple communities together? In what ways did inter-ethnic marriage alliances ensure the continuity of trans-local commerce? How did environmental flows shape interregional human interactions? Did historical colonial encounters and local modern nation building process contribute to the concurrency of transregional connectivity and disconnectivity? How do we reconceptualize and reformulate the meanings of geography, space, place, corridor, network, and environment in these multifaceted nexuses of people, goods, and ideas?

 

Selected papers will be revised for publication as a journal special issue or as an edited volume in English and Chinese. The English publication will be either a thematic issue of a journal or an edited volume with a press in Europe or North America. The Chinese publication will be an edited volume with a press based in China.

 

 

Schedule

 

April 17 (Tuesday)

4:00-5:00pm

Workshop registration at Maple Palace Hotel, Yunnan Minzu University

5:30pm – 8:00pm                Inaugural session & YMU Presidential Banquet

Banquet Hall, Maple Palace Hotel, the first floor

Conveners:

·         Dan Smyer Yü, Director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University

·         Gao Dengrong, Deputy Executive Director, Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies

 

Inaugural speaker I:

Na Jinhua, President of Yunnan Minzu University

Inaugural speaker II:

Gunnel Cederlöf, Professor of History, Linnaeus University

 

Keynote speaker:

Duan Gang, Vice President of Yunnan Minzu University

“‘Belt and Road’: the Construction and Development of Bangladesh-China-India-Burma Economic Corridor”

Translator: Li Yunxia, Department of Sociology, Yunnan Minzu University

 

April 18 (Wednesday)  

Venue: Seminar Room (B201), Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies (2nd floor)

Yunnan Minzu University (Chenggong campus), Kunming

 

8:45 – 10:30   Corridors and Transregionality of Modern Nation-states

·         Chairperson/Opening remarks: Gunnel Cederlöf, Department of Cultural Sciences and the Center for Concurrences in Colonial and Post-colonial Studies, Linnaeus University

Speakers:

·         Willem van Schendel, Amsterdam University  

Paper title: “Framing Spaces between India and China”

·         Mandy Sadan, SOAS Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, University of London

Paper title: “Mapping and knowledge of the India China corridor in the early 19th century”

·         Discussant: Dan Smyer Yü, Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, YMU

 

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee/tea break

 

10:45 – 12:15 Early Modern Borderlands and Cartographical Practices

Chairperson/discussant: Gunnel Cederlöf, Linnaeus University

Speakers:

·         Joy LK Pachuau, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Paper title: “Circulatory regimes in the Indo-Burma Borderlands: A case study from the Chin-Lushai Hills, 19th century.”

·         Ma Jianxiong, Division of Humanities, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Paper title: “The dowry land system and chieftains of Shan-Dai borderlands between Yunnan and Burmese kingdoms from the Ming to the Qing dynasties: the construction of a decentralized institution in the frontier”

 

12:15 – 13:30 Lunch

                      Faculty Halal Dining Hall, Heyuan 3rd Floor

                      教工清真餐厅,荷苑三楼

 

14:30 – 16:00 Ethnic Alliances/Conflicts in Sino-Burmese Borderlands, 1500s-2000s

Chairperson/discussant: Mandy Sadan, SOAS University of London

Speakers:

·         Wen-Chin Chang, Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, RCHSS, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Paper title: “Clandestine Travel across the Sino-Burmese Border During the Cold War”

·         Wang Jianhua (Nyawrbyeivq Aryoeq), Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University

Paper title: "A Brief History of Special Region No. 4 of East Shan State: A Solution to Ethnic Conflicts in Myanmar?"

 

18:00 Dinner at Maple Palace Hotel (international scholars)

Evening free

 

April 19 (Thursday)

Venue: Conference Room (808), YMU Office of International Exchange & Cooperation, 8th  Floor, Gezhi Lou

 

9:00 – 10:30 Conquests, Hybrid Zones, and Sliced Nature in the Eastern Himalayas

Chairperson/discussant: Khondkar Iftekhar Iqbal, History and International Studies

   the Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Speakers:

·         Arupjyoti Saikia, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Paper title: “Nature versus Empire: The Eastern Himalayas to the Patkai, 1880s to 1946.”

·         Shen Haimei, Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University

Paper title: “The Erhai Regional History of the Pre-Nanzhao Kingdom in the Middle Ground of Multi-Civilizations”

 

10:30 –10:45 Coffee/tea break

 

10:45 – 12:15 Transboundary Migrations and Civilizational Encounters

主题——跨界流动与多样文明的互动

Chairperson/discussant: Joy LK Pachuau, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Speakers:

·         Bryce Beemer, SSRC Transregional Research Fellow for InterAsian Contexts and Connections

Paper title: “When were the Kaman? And why?: Arakan's creole Muslim community in the shadow of ethnic cleansing, and the politics of ethnogenesis”

·         Li Yunxia, Department of Sociology, Yunnan Minzu University

Paper title: “The Haw Chinese on a Civilising Mission: the Influence of Yunnanese Immigrants in Northern Laos and Myanmar in the Late Qing Dynasty”

 

12:15-13:30 Lunch

Faculty Halal Dining Hall, Heyuan 3rd Floor

                      教工清真餐厅,荷苑三楼

 

13:50 – 15:30 Environmental Flows and A More-than Human World

Chairperson/discussant: Arupjyoti Saikia, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Speakers:

·         Ambika Aiyadurai, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar

Paper title: “Wildlife Conservation and the role of local communities: Perspectives from India and China”

·         Khondker Iftekhar Iqbal, the Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Paper title: “Ethnography of water: Mobility and space-making along the rivers of northeastern South Asia and mainland Southeast Asia.” 

 

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee/tea break

 

15:45 – 17:00

Chairperson/discussant: Willem van Schendel, Amsterdam University

Speakers发言人:

·         Li Quanmin, Yunnan Minzu University

Paper title: “Taste Identification and the Cross-border Flow of Sour Tea of De’ang on the China and Myanmar borderland”

·         Henrik Möller, Lund University

Paper title: “Human-Animal Analogies in Ethnic Identifications, Alliances, and Conflicts among Rohingya Jade Traders in the Myanmar-China Borderlands”

 

17:00 – 17:30 Closed session on publication matters (participants only)

Location: Seminar Room, Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University, A1205 Gezhi Lou, 12th floor

 

18:00 Dinner at Maple Palace Hotel

Evening free

 

Participating Scholars Roster  

Ambika Aiyadurai, Assistant Professor in Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, India.  

Bryce Beemer, SSRC Transregional Research Fellow for InterAsian Contexts and Connections

Gunnel Cederlöf, Professor of History at the Department of Cultural Sciences and the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden, and the P.I. of the India-China Corridor Project, Swedish Research Council.  

Wen-Chin Chang, Research Fellow at Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, RCHSS, Academia Sinica, Taiwan  

Duan Gang, Professor of Anthropology and Vice President of Yunnan Minzu University, and Director of Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies.  

Iftekhar Iqbal, Associate Professor and Programme Leader of History and International Studies at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam  

Li Quanmin, Associate Professor at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University  

Li Yunxia, Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Yunnan Minzu University

Ma Jianxiong, Associate professor of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

Henrik Møller, Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Sociology, Lund University, and visiting doctoral scholar at Yunnan Minzu University.  

Joy LK Pachuau, Professor of History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.  

Mandy Sadan, Reader at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK.

Arupjyoti Saikia, Professor in History & Suryya Kumar Bhuyan Endowment Chair on Assam History Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, Assam, India  

Shen Haimei, Professor of Anthropology at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University  

Dan Smyer Yü, Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies at Yunnan Minzu University.  

Willem van Schendel, Professor, University of Amsterdam and International Institute of Social History

Wang Jianhua (Nyawrbyeivq Aryoeq), Assistant Professor at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University

Abstracts

Ambika Aiyadurai, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar

 Wildlife Conservation and the role of local communities: Perspectives from India and China”

The role of local communities in nature conservation projects has undergone major changes in the past few decades. Once seen as detrimental to wildlife conservation initiatives, local communities are increasing becoming active partners in conservation practices. Community-based conservation (CBC) is seen as a more effective ways of conserving wildlife, especially in areas where communities are dependent on nature resources for their livelihood. In this paper, we analyze different conservation interventions in northeast India (Arunachal Pradesh) and in Yunnan.

This paper is divided into two sections. First is to understand the degree of participation by local communities in wildlife conservation projects, to examine factors that enable or hinder their participation and how do the local communities perceive the projects and the actors involved in the conservation of focal wildlife species. Second, the paper will highlight how the relations between the local community and the focal wildlife species changed as a result of these conservation interventions and to examine how different actors perceive the species under conservation. In Arunachal Pradesh, the species under focus is Bugun liocichla (a babbler species) which was discovered in 2006 and since then the relatively unknown site has emerged as a key site for birding and bird-based ecotourism is helping the local Bugun tribe in generating employment opportunities. In Yunnan, human-elephant conflict is a serious concern and the paper aims to understand how the conflict is addressed by engaging the community in resolving the conflict. Using ethnographic observations and interviews we present results of CBC projects from two different socio-cultural-political settings in a largely continuous geographic landscape of India-China corridor.

 

Bryce Beemer, SSRC Transregional Research Fellow for InterAsian Contexts and Connections, Hawaii, U.S.A.

“When were the Kaman? And why?: Arakan’s creole Muslim community in the shadow of ethnic cleansing, and the politics of ethnogenesis”

The Kaman are a Muslim community in Arakan, who, unlike Arakan’s Rohingya Muslim minority, are considered an indigenous ethnic group in both Myanmar law and tradition. Until recently, the Kaman community proudly announced their history and creole origins. They were a multiethnic military unit in the Mughul army, comprised of archers, that was captured in a 1660 skirmish between Arakan and Mughul forces. The captured archers were incorporated into the victor’s military, adapted to life in a Buddhist majority state, and cohered over the decades into a new ethnic group. “Kaman” means “archer” in Persian. The Kaman can be understood as moving through a decades long process of ethnogenesis in which these “Muslim archers” became “Archer Muslims”: their ethnonym is literally the duty they performed for the Arakan king. However, while they are technically protected by Myanmar law, and should be immune from the state and communal terror being visited on the undocumented Rohingya, the Kaman have been swept up in this violence. Many hundreds have had their homes and villages burned and are living in refugee camps alongside the Rohingya. This has led to a profound rethinking of Kaman history and identity amongst community leaders as they search for new forms of protection in the ever more dangerous anti-Mulsim and anti-Bengali politics that have roiled Arakan and Myanmar since democratic elections began in 2011. My paper will examine remarkable changes in Kaman identity over the last few decades as the community reacts to Myanmar’s shifting, uncertain, and potentially deadly identity politics.

 

Wen-Chin Chang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

“Clandestine Travel across the Sino-Burmese Border During the Cold War”

                      Unlike the main stream history on the Cold War that focuses on the politics of global confrontation in light of ideological differences, the central states’ foreign policies and national and regional security, this paper, responding to Thongchai Winichakul’s call for traversing “the margins of national identity and national history, looking for the ‘in-between’ locations of encounters” or writing a “history at interstices”, shifts the focus from a state-centric viewpoint to ordinary civilians in the frontiers of China and Burma, and examine how they made clandestine travel across the border from both sides for survival or for a better life in the face of ongoing violence and upheaval during the Cold War era. Their moving was tied to multiple factors and resulted in various types of migration—victim, political, military, trade and educational—which did not exclude one another. In practice, one may simultaneously migrate for trade and for political reasons, or one may move back and forth for different purposes at different times. While intersecting with diverse levels of politics—national, regional and international—their movement was covert and against the laws of their own states. In accompany with their travel, goods, capital, ideas and intelligence were circulating.

                      In this paper I primarily draw on informants’ narratives to foreground their individual travel experiences and to illuminate their dynamism in the face of a range of intriguing political entanglements. Secondarily, I use relevant literature, and unpublished material of Burma-China relations, of the KMT and of the CPB for contextual illustration. While illustrating their steadfast perseverance for carving out a way of life against contextual adversities, their accounts upset a clear division between (liberal) capitalism and (totalitarian) communism -- the two ideological fronts of the Cold War -- and ridicule the absurdity of political confrontation between different political entities.

 

Duan Gang, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming

“‘Belt and Road’: the Construction and Development of Bangladesh-China-India-Burma Economic Corridor”

Bangladesh-China-India-Burma Economic Corridor is a collaborative economic belt stringing together Kunming, Mandalay, Dhaka, Calcutta, and other important cities with railways, highways, aerial routes, waterways, power lines, and oil and gas pipelines. Based on the flows of goods, capital, and information, the Corridor builds clusters of competitive industries, special urban systems, industrial parks, port systems, borderland economic cooperative zones, and more. It forges competitive complementarity, cooperative division of labor, coordinated elaboration, and shared development among the member nations. The sphere of the cooperation in the Corridor is exceedingly vast because the level of the complementarity of the nations in it is high and the potential for their cooperation are immense in the areas of policy communication, infrastructural linkage, commercial connectivity, and international financing. The Corridor particularly has the capacity to accelerate the development of the regions in the Bay of Bengal.

 

Khondker Iftekhar Iqbal, the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei

 “Ethnography of water: Mobility and space-making along the rivers of northeastern South Asia and mainland Southeast Asia” 

In modern historiography, the Tibetan-Himalayan rivers have been at the centre of two broad range of scholarship: European imperial influence and their status as sites of national imagination in a number of riparian countries. In more recent times, a critical mass of scholarship has focused on the idea and practice of water-management and economic cooperation along the river corridors. My paper takes a fresh point of departure in the context of recent call from a number of Asia scholars to revisit various regions of Asia as cosmopolitan zones of “space-making”. Looking from the vantage point of the Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy and Mekong rivers  I would examine how in the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries these rivers, along the corridors through Yunnan to the deltas, became sites of interactions of multiple ethnicities from northeastern India, Southwestern China and mainland Southeast Asia. In particular I would explore how, despite their varied background and locations, people attached a sense of place in relation to these rivers and forged temporal attachment to it as an ecological commons. To understand this dual process of spatially specific “space-making” and the sustenance of the idea of a commons in connection to these rivers, this paper locates the river as an active ecological agency influencing human imagination and everyday life rather than viewing it simply as a passive endowment of nature.

 

Joy LK Pachuau, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

 “Circulatory regimes in the Indo-Burma Borderlands: A case study from the Chin-Lushai Hills, 19th century”

Recent works on Southeast Asian highlands have brought out a useful category of analysis known as Zomia. The term shifts the focus of study to the highland regions of Asia thereby bringing a region that is marginal to state formation in the lowlands into analysis. Over the years, the term Zomia has been ascribed to different regions extending from as far west as the Hindu Kush to the Southwest Pacific islands. However, the overarching emphasis in these studies has been to understand regions that have been at the periphery of larger state formations within the Asian context. Helpful as the term has been in shifting the locale of analysis, considering the vast extent of this region and their different socio-cultural, political and economic contexts, the important question in Zomia studies is to see how one may understand the region internally. It has been argued that a useful method is to locate sub-regions within the larger Zomia region. In this paper I seek to use the idea of Connections in the Indo-Burma Borderlands, especially focusing on what was known in colonial times as the Lushai-Chin Hills. These connections are thought of in terms of a ‘circulatory regime’, especially of commodities and peoples.

            The immediate pre-colonial period in the region mentioned above saw large-scale migrations and movements of people as recorded by the colonial officials and also verified in oral stories. These movements, among other things, were the result of wars by chiefs against each other in the desire for more resources and, one may conjecture, in the quest for more stable state systems. Important to these aspirations were the increasing use of firearms, which came into the region from the more permanent state systems of Burma as well as the Bay of Bengal region. This suggests a movement of goods and peoples across a region that has often been characterized as isolated and isolationist. Such exchange also required interactions with the more permanent state systems at Ava, stretching as far as Yunan but also even to the smaller states of Manipur, Tripura as well as the Arakan. The paper will thus focus on the intra-regional connections through the kinds of exchanges that took place that also led to the crystallization of political units in the region.

 

Quanmin, Li, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming

“Taste Identification and the Cross-border Flow of Sour Tea of De’ang on the China and Myanmar borderland”

The De’ang ethnic minority mainly live in the cross-border areas of southwest Yunnan between China and Myanmar with a long history of tea cultivation and rich customs of tea. Their acid tea is preferred by the local people both in diet and drinking which can reflect the taste demand of subtropical hill peoples. Although their sour tea has not been spread to the urban market of tea, this did not affect its cross-border flow in production technology and daily consumption in the De’ang societies between China and Myanmar. It is this cross-border flow of taste identification that will provide more cultural and commercial space for the tea market on the China and Myanmar borderland.

Key words: the China and Myanmar borderland; De’ang tea; taste identification; cross-border flow

 

Yunxia, Li, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming

The Haw Chinese on a Civilising Mission: the Influence of Yunnanese Immigrants in Northern Laos and Myanmar in the Late Qing Dynasty”

The rejuvenation of regional trade and commerce between China and Southeast Asia has triggered the academic inquiry on the influence of ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia. Adding to this discussion, this paper focuses on the Haw (Ho), a group of Han people of Yunnanese origin who became scattered in what are now Northern Laos and Myanmar. Starting from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE) and even earlier, the Haw moved from Yunnan on economic exploration or pushed by wars and became settled permanently in the ethnic diversified and “barbarous” regions. Foraging for economic opportunities and profits, the Haw had to adopt the local politics of hill chiefs but at the same time they reinforced their Han cultural traits by utilising the feudalist techniques institutionalised by the Chinese court. Piecing together historical records and literature from various sources, this paper aims to tease out the interactions of the Haw with the local polities which in turn shaped the local politics and contributed to wider political processes in the late Qing Dynasty (1840-1912). Based on empirical data collected since 2008, this interrogation also attempts to show how the Haw Chinese of later generations view their predecessors’ roles in the two regions.

 

Jianxiong Ma, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

 “The dowry land system and chieftains of Shan-Dai borderlands between Yunnan and Burmese kingdoms from the Ming to the Qing dynasties: the construction of a decentralized institution in the frontier”

This paper aims to reveal an intermarriage political system in the Shan-Dai chieftaincy, which functioned as a large buffer zone or frontier between China and Southeast Asia. The Shan-Dai people have identified themselves as the Dai (Tai), sharing the same Dai identity and Theravada Buddhism tradition. There has been a long tradition of intermarriage within an endogamic class among the Shan-Dai chieftains. Their political authority should have been identified by the Chinese and the Burmese courts, but was mainly authorized by the Chinese imperial central governments. The Ming and the Qing courts required the Shan-Dai chieftains to provide a patrilineal genealogy, a testimonial report provided by all neighboring chieftains and signed by them and a report provided by the neighboring prefecture magistrate for the succession permission of a chieftain. In order to satisfy these requirements for the succession permission of chieftains, a system of intermarriage among the Shan-Dai chieftains had been well-maintained and had guaranteed the correlation and cooperation between the chieftains. Meanwhile, the dowry land custom in the intermarriage chieftaincies was a means of empowerment used by the side of a chieftain’s father-in-law, the parents of a chieftain’s wife. After the 1880s, along with the colonization of Southeast Asia, the shifting borders of these dowry lands have gradually become fixed into the hard borders of modern nation-states between China and Southeast Asia.

 

Henrik Möller, Lund University

“Human-Animal Analogies in Ethnic Identifications, Alliances, and Conflicts among Rohingya Jade Traders in the Myanmar-China Borderlands”

This paper addresses ethnic identification, conflicts, and alliances in the trade of Burmese jadeite – the highest valued type of jade – in Ruili, a town in Southwest China, bordering Myanmar. The paper presents events related by Hamid, a Sunni-Muslim Rohingya man, who has fled ethnic violence in the Arakan state of Southwest Myanmar, and settled as a jade trader in Ruili. Recounting an incident where dogs attacked Hamid’s fighting cocks, the paper then discusses how Hamid makes sense of his ethnic identity by conceptualizing his relation to a ‘predatory’ ethnic other in terms of an analogous relation between animal prey and predator. Finally, the paper considers ambiguities and inconsistencies in Hamid’s narrative as reflecting his desire to project a consistent image of displaced Rohingya jade traders in Ruili as victims in an unequal interethnic conflict with Burmese Buddhists, while downplaying or erasing from his narrative actions among Rohingya that he considers morally embarrassing, including

 

Mandy Sadan, SOAS University of London

 Mapping and knowledge of the India China corridor in the early 19th century”

This paper will explore the early mapping of this 'corridor' in early nineteenth century British colonial archives and the practices that gave it imperial rational purpose. In particular, it will consider the early geographical knowledge that was developed through the experiences of the first Anglo-Burmese war and how this shaped – and continues to shape – imaginaries of this space. The paper will consider how these mapping practices can be understood also in the context of current ‘decolonisation’ debates in higher education globally. We are constrained in some respects by the origin of these sources in the colonial framework but the challenge is also how we may be able to develop more holistic understandings of them as hybrid spaces of encounter in ways that may help us to push our understanding of the ‘corridor’ into new frameworks of learning and teaching; ways that both challenge and disrupt the controlling authority of ‘the colonial’, while also accepting and acknowledging those contingent histories 

 

Arupjyoti Saikia, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

 “Nature versus Empire: The Eastern Himalayas to the Patkai, 1880s to 1946.”

Though appeared to be indifferent to each other, the Eastern Himalaya, the Patkai, and the British Empire had an intricate relationship. Whether it was a matter of resource plundering or encountering countless resistance from the inhabitants, the Empire had a tough time dealing with these Himalayan environs. These environs posed not only challenges but also offered great hope. Towards the latter half of the 19th century, there was a significant acceleration in the private trade, which connected these regions and the British Empire. By the early in the 20th century, the Empire made frantic attempt to assert ensure control over this fragile ecology and its indomitable habitants. What followed was a series of raids and political missions into the eastern Himalaya. This coincided with the ardent demand to modernize the transport linkages between the British Empire’s northeastern frontier with Burma and Southern China. Events began to unfold rapidly when unexpectedly the theatre of the WW 2 shifted to the Patkai Hills since 1941. The Empire had to defend its fragile boundary, which it did after facing a tough time. By 1946 the situation appeared extremely calm but acquired different political form. This paper explores these economic and political events and examines how the interplay of geography, nature and the Empire shaped these events.

 

Haimei Shen, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming

 “The Erhai Regional History of the Pre-Nanzhao Kingdom in the Middle Ground of Multi-Civilizations”

The Erhai region in the western of Yunnan is the middle ground of China, India, Tibet, Burma and other cultures in Southeast Asia. The history of Nanzhao and Dali in Erhai region from 8 to 13 centuries has been known well in Asian Studies. However, the located borderland of Southwest frontier in the Chinese traditional history makes the history of Erhai region missed long time period as long as many centuries between prehistory and the Nanzhao Kingdom. Thus, we have to face many difficulties to understand the Erhai regional history in integrity. Now, the Erhai regional history of pre-Nanzhao Kingdom in the link of multi civilizations is possible to be re-interpreted in globalization history perspectives. This paper puts three historical texts in apposition, which are the Chinese empire history, Asia history (Buddhism history) and the Dali local history, and considers that Erhai region was the place where the Han Chinese empire cannot make intervention infrequently since the Qin dynasty till Wei and Jin Dynasties from B.C the first century to the 6th century, it was out of territory of Chinese empire. Meanwhile, the crosscut of pilgrim roads and the tour of pilgrims linked the Erhai region and India in the narratives of Asia historical text. Whiles Asoka, the greatest king in Indian history was emphasized in the Dali local historical records through the tale on original common ancestor of people who lived in the Erhai region. Taking a way of like Jigsaw Puzzle to put three historical texts together we can find that Asoka who was the greatest king vanished in India history had been kept in the memorial of Erhai People collectively in the 14thand 15th centuries. The mystery potency coming from the Erhai region indistinct and unclear in the Chinese literatures was drawn in the Dali local history, and also some important local historical events were explained in the Chinese literatures. The different narratives of history are able to meet the different demands for their “past” of different people and it presented different historical process and tend toward.

Keywords: Middle Ground   Pre-Nanzhao Kingdom     Erhai Regional History

 

Willem van Schendel, Amsterdam University

 Framing Spaces between India and China

Which approaches do historians and other social scientists use to analyse social processes in the spaces between Yunnan and the Bay of Bengal? And how can these approaches contribute to scholarly critiques of state-centrism? To explore these questions I examine some metaphors that researchers employ to frame the ‘India-China corridor.’ I distinguish four types: structured, liquid, spatial and sensory metaphors. I argue that these metaphors need closer scrutiny but that they can act as useful antidotes to the ways in which ‘India’ and ‘China’ (and ‘Myanmar’ and ‘Bangladesh’) routinely get framed in scholarly debate and policy discourse.

 

Jianhua Wang (Nyawrbyeivq Aryoeq), Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming

 "A Brief History of Special Region No. 4 of East Shan State: A Solution to Ethnic Conflicts in Myanmar?"

Ethnic conflicts have been a highlighted aspect of modern history of Myanmar since its independence in 1948. Some of th ethnic conflicts are relixes of ancient states of various peoples, while the others are legacies of modern nation-state construction out of interweaved movements of colonalism, communism, and nationalism. People’s Army of the Communist Party of Myanmar was dissolved and splited into various ethnic military forces that were all together renamed Myanmar Nationalist Democratic Allied Army in north of Shan State bordering with China in 1989. Different areas controled by these various ethnic military forces were soon recognized and granted title of Special Regions upon their cease-fire agreement with the central government. Commander Lin Mingxian (U Sai Lin) of the 815th Army of the Communist Party of Myanmar reformed it into Nationalist Democratic Allied Army of East Shan State (NDAA-ESS) on April 19th 1989. The region controlled by NDAA-ESS was granted the title of Special Region No. 4 of ESS by the central government on June 30th 1989. Located at north-east tip of Shan State, bordering with China to its north and across Laos from Mekong River to its east, Special Region No. 4 of East Shan State is the smallest one among those special regions. However, it is the first special region in which substituting plantation to opium cultivation had been successfully accomplished, as well as relatively fast economic growth and social development have been achieved. Moreover, it is the only special region where no more military conflict against central army occurred after the cease-fire agreement signed. At the end, whether the mode of Special Region No. 4 of ESS is a solution to Ethnic Conflicts in Myanmar will be discussed.

Key words:  Special Region No.4 of East Shan State    Ethnic conflicts    Myanmar

 

Scholars Bios  

Ambika Aiyadurai is an Assistant Professor in Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (India). Her research focuses on the dynamics of human-animals relations in the Indian Himalayas. She holds a PhD (Anthropology) from National University of Singapore (2016). Her thesis revolves around the politics of wildlife conservation in the borderlands of Arunachal Pradesh (India). She holds double Masters’ degrees; one in Anthropology, Environment and Development from University College London (UK) and the other in wildlife sciences from Wildlife Institute of India. She was awarded Ford Foundations's International Fellowship for her MA proramme in UK. Ambika's ongoing and long term research is to understand people-nature relations and how local and global forces shape these relations. In 2017, she was awarded Social Science Research Council (SSRC) fellowship from Andrew Mellon Foundation (US) for her research on community-based wildlife conservation in India, China and Bhutan. https://www.iitgn.ac.in/faculty/Social%20Sciences/ambika.htm

Bryce Beemer has a PhD in Southeast Asian History from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where he also studied World History and comparative slavery. He is currently an SSRC Transregional Research Fellow for InterAsian Contexts and Connections. Professor Beemer held previous positions as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative World History at Colby College, and as a Research Professor at Sogang University where he edited TRaNS, a journal devoted to transnational research on the Southeast Asia region. His research is on the transcultural ramifications of slave gathering warfare in mainland Southeast Asia and Northeast India with a special focus on enslaved artisans, religious rituals, and processes of creolization and cultural exchange.

The Fulbright-Hays (DDRA) and a Watumull Foundation grant for research in South Asia funded his research which was conducted in three countries—Thailand, Burma, and Manipur (India)—over a two-year period. His Ph.D. was awarded the 2014 Best Dissertation Prize by the World History Association (WHA). His publication “Southeast Asian Slavery and Slave-Gathering Warfare as a Vector for Cultural Transmission: The Case of Burma and Thailand” received several academic awards for its innovative research methods. https://www.ssrc.org/fellows/781B2CEF-DD34-E711-80C4-005056AB0BD9/

 Gunnel Cederlöf is Professor of History at the Department of Cultural Sciences and the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden, and the Director of India-China Corridor Project, Swedish Research Council. Her work combines environmental history, legal history, and colonial and British imperial history. It connects global and local history, and has a particular focus on early modern and modern India. Among her publications are Founding an Empire on India's North-Eastern Frontiers, 1790-1840: Climate, Commerce, Polity (Oxford University Press 2014), Landscapes and the Law: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories, and Contests over Nature (Permanent Black 2008), Bonds Lost: Subordination, Conflict and Mobilisation in Rural South India c. 1900-1970 (Manohar 1997), At Nature's Edge: The Global Present and Longterm History (with Mahesh Rangarajan, Oxford University Press 2018), and Subjects, Citizens, and Law (with Sanjukta Das Gupta, Routledge 2017). https://lnu.se/en/staff/gunnel.cederlof/ 

Wen-Chin Chang is Research Fellow at Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, RCHSS, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She is an anthropologist and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Burma, Thailand and Yunnan. Her interest on this frontier area, composed of multi-ethnicities, multi-polities and continuous tension and creation of diverse cultures, corresponds to the academic emphasis on the significance of borderland studies since the 1980s. She takes the perspective from below in writing ethnography of lives, of individualities, and of a migrant group beyond borders. She has published many journal articles, two co-edited books (Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities, and Networks in Southeast Asia and Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Stories under the Burmese Regime) and a monograph (Beyond Borders: Stories of Yunnanese Migrants of Burma). https://independent.academia.edu/WenChinChang

Duan Gang, Ph.D., a Naxi native to Lijiang, is Vice President of Yunnan Minzu University, Director of Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, a senior researcher, and a doctoral student advisor. Over the last thirty years of his university career, he has conducted research in the areas of ethno-cultural studies, macro-economic policies, regional economic development, geostrategic analysis, and public governance. His expertise and leadership is well recognized among his peers in the nation and abroad. He has participated in many seminars and professional associational meetings concerning economic planning and public administration in the United States, Germany, and Brazil. He has also been a core member of important projects of the Central Government, Yunnan Province, and the World Bank and has received many awards from the province and the state. He has directed county and township planning projects in Dieqin Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Lijiang Municipality, Linchang Municipality, HongHe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Anning Municipality and other locations. His representative projects and publications include “Building the Third Eurasian Land Bridge,” “Constructing International Water Highways in Indian Ocean,” “Constructing Southwest China as a Forefront of China’s Globalization,” “The Strategic Structure of the International Corridors of Western China,” “Master planning for National Key Experimental Development Projects in Ruili,” “Entrepreneurial Development Zoning Plan in Central Yunnan,” “Encyclopedia of Yunnan: Economics, Vol.II,” “Yunnan Provincial Poverty Alleviation Plan,” “Strategic Research for the Development of Mountainous Townships in Yunnan,” “Systematic Investment and Capital Merger Plans for Bridgehead Construction,” “Research on the Systematic Capital Merger Plans for Aqueducts Construction,” and “Integrative Development Planning for Economic Zones in Central Yunnan.”

Iftekhar Iqbal is Associate Professor and Programme Leader of History and International Studies at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam with research interest in modern Asian studies and environmental history, with a focus on South Asia. Educated at the Universities of Dhaka and Cambridge Iqbal has held fellowships with British Academy, Aga Khan University and Humboldt Foundation, while holding teaching and research appointments at the University of Dhaka, King’s College London and Humboldt University Berlin. Iqbal has published extensively including in Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, Environment and History and Indian Economic and Social History Review.  Iqbal’s book, The Bengal Delta. Ecology, State and Social Change 1840-1945 (Palgrave 2010), received Honorable Mention by inaugural Bernard Cohn Book Prize Committee of AAS and Bangladesh University Grants Commission award. Iqbal is in the International Advisory Board of Conservation and Society and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. His current research projects include history of modern Bengal in national and Indian-Ocean context; and transregional history of rivers across South Asia, mainland Southeast Asia and southwestern China. https://expert.ubd.edu.bn/iftekhar.iqbal

 Li Quanmin is Associate Professor at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University. She received her PhD in anthropology from the Australian National University. Her research interest focuses on environment, tea and cross-border ethnic groups, especially on the De’ang people between Southwest China and Southeast Asia. Her publications representative include Order and Adjustment: The Study on the De’ang’s Traditionally Ecological Civilization and Regionally Sustainable Development ( China Social Sciences Academic Press, 2017), Identity, Relationships and Difference: The Social Life of Tea in a Group of Mon-Khmer Speaking People along China and Burma Frontier( Yunnan University Press, 2011) and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on tea in identity, rituals, gift exchange and market economy, social governance, and regional development.

Li Yunxia is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Yunnan Minzu University. She received her M.Phil in social anthropology from University of Bergen, Norway and Ph.D. in anthropology from Macquarie University, Australia. Her research focuses mainly on Southwest China, Northern Laos and China-Lao border areas. Currently, her research interests include frontier issues, Western and Chinese modes of aid and development, trans-border capital and human flows, agrarian studies, gender, social work and ethnic policies. She has been actively involved in several projects related to public health and gender studies. She has published articles on gender, cosmologies, and domestic education of the Hani/Akha. Her more recent publications are on trans-boundary studies, the China-Lao frontier and the social change of Northwestern Laos. Her ongoing research project focuses on ethnic social networks in China-Lao and China-Myanmar borderlands.

Ma Jianxiong is associate professor of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. As an anthropologist, his recent research focuses on cultural diversity and ecology in Southwest China, and the historical formation of Sino-Southeast Asia borderlands. His representative publications include:  The Lahu Minority in Southwest China: A Response to Ethnic Marginalization on the Frontier (Routledge, 2013),  Reinventing Ancestors: Ethnic Mobilization in China’s Southwest Frontier & the Historical Construction of Lahu (in Chinese, The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 2013).

Henrik Kloppenborg Møller is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Sociology, Lund University, and visiting doctoral scholar at Yunnan Minzu University. He has a BA and MSc degree in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen, and has studied Chinese language at Fudan University. Møller has done long-term fieldwork among Chinese vendors of counterfeit fashion goods in Shanghai and among jade carvers and traders in southwest China and northern Myanmar. Møller’s Ph.D. project examines the organisation of the jade trade between in the Myanmar-China borderlands, as well as ontological assumptions underpinning Chinese demand for jade. His broader research interests include relations between materiality, knowledge, authenticity, value, and identity. Recent publications are “Boom or Bust in China’s Jade Trade with Myanmar?” [Made in China. A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society and Rights, 2017:2(4)], and “Potentials of Feicui: Indeterminacy and Determination in Human-Jade Interactions in Southwest China” [in Bunkenborg and Bregnbæk (eds.). Emptiness and Fullness. Ethnographies of Lack and Desire in Contemporary China. Berghan Books]. http://portal.research.lu.se/portal/en/persons/henrik-moeller(1e00d02a-dd08-4577-96fb-a6adc169204c).html

Joy LK Pachuau is Professor of History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Her research interest includes the history of Portuguese expansion in Asia especially in relation to religion but also other socio-cultural aspects. More recently she has been working on the history of Northeast India with a focus in the history of identity formations. She is also interested in the visual history of the region. Prof. Pachuau’s recent publications include Being Mizo: Identity and Belonging in Northeast India, (OUP, 2014), The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India (with Willem van Schendel, CUP, 2015) and Christianity in Indian History: Issues of Culture, Power and Knowledge (eds with P. Malekandathil and Tanika Sarkar, Primus 2016).

Mandy Sadan is Reader at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK. She studies the historical connections between India and China via the Kachin region of northern Burma/Myanmar for nearly two decades. It includes a close analysis of textual and non-textual sources for studies of ritual language and visual and material culture. Her new research will explore the social transformations causing the 'crisis of masculinity' that underpins the experience of endemic ethnic conflict, leading to chronic levels of substance abuse among marginalised male populations and the dominance of sexual violence towards women as an issue in political discourses around women's rights and experiences of conflict. The study will include a detailed consideration of the environmental histories of the Burmese borderlands to understand how environmental change since the late 18th century has contributed to transformations in gendered economies and family structures in upland areas as a longer term historical development that has influenced these social developments. Her recent publications include Being & Becoming Kachin: Histories Beyond the State in the Borderworlds of Burma (Oxford University Press 2013), “The Historical Visual Economy of Photography in Burma” (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia, 2014[170] 2-3, pp 281-312), and “Ethnic armies and ethnic conflict in Burma – Reconsidering the history of colonial militarization in the Kachin region of Burma during the Second World War” (South East Asia Research, 2013[14], pp 115-149). https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff46801.php

Arupjyoti Saikia is a Professor in History & Suryya Kumar Bhuyan Endowment Chair on Assam History Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati, Assam, India. He is a leading environmental historian in Assam. Presently he pursues research on the socio-ecology of the Brahmaputra river valley. This study investigates the longer environmental trajectories of the river and the socioeconomic life of its floodplains. It provides a broad sweep from ancient history to the present. In relation to the project 'The India-China Corridor', he will expand the study to incorporate mobility and environmental change between this river valley, the Himalayas and Burma. It will thus also build on his extensive research on the varied livelihoods in Assam's plains and foothills. His representative publications include A Century of Protests: Peasant Politics in Assam since 1900 (Routledge 2014) and Forests and Ecological History of Assam, 1826-2000 (Oxford University Press 2011). His next book The Turbulent Waters: An Environmental History of the Brahmaputra will be published by Oxford University Press in 2018. His current book project is “Assam after World War 2: Political Biography of Indian State”. https://arupjyotisaikia.weebly.com/

Shen Haimei (shenhaimei@hotmail.com) is a Professor of Anthropology at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University, China. Her main research interests include Yunnan local history; Himalaya Studies, women/gender studies and ethnicity in southwest China; HIV/AIDS and public health; Trafficking in Women and transnational Asian female immigrants in China. She is an author of three books: Research on the Life of Yunnan Women in the Ming and Qing Dynasties(明清云南妇女生活研究Kunming: Yunnan Education Press, 2001) Middle GroundGender, Ethnicity and Identity in Southwest China. (中间地带:西南中国的社会性别、族性与认同Beijing: The Commercial Press, 2012), A Local Perspective about the World: Selected Articles by Shen Haimei on Sex and Gender(从地方观照世界:沈海梅教授性/性别研究自选集, Yunnan People’s Press,2017).She has published 40 articles in CIJAsia Insights, Ethnology Studies and the other Journals.

 Dan Smyer Yü is Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies at Yunnan Minzu University. Prior to his current faculty appointment, he was a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and a core member of the Transregional Research Network (CETREN) at the University of Göttingen in Göttingen, Germany, and a New Millennium Scholar at Minzu University of China, Beijing. He is the author of The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment (Routledge, 2011) and Mindscaping the Landscape of Tibet: Place, Memorability, Ecoaesthetics (De Gruyter, 2015), and the co-editor of Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China (Routledge 2014) and Trans-Himalayan Borderlands: Livelihoods, Territorialities, Modernities (AUP 2017). His current research interests are religion and ecology, environmental humanities, transboundary state effects, hydraulic politics, climate change and heritage preservation, Buddhism and peacebuilding, and comparative studies of Eurasian secularisms. He is also a documentary filmmaker. https://ynni.academia.edu/DanSmyerYu

Willem van Schendel (University of Amsterdam and International Institute of Social History) works in the fields of history, anthropology, and sociology of Asia. His recent publications include Embedding Agricultural Commodities: Using Historical Evidence, 1840s–1940s (2017, ed.); The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India (2015; with Joy L.K. Pachuau); and The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics (2013; ed. with Meghna Guhathakurta). https://uva.academia.edu/WillemVanSchendel

Wang Jianhua (Nyawrbyeivq Aryoeq) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University. Prof. Wang received PhD in Anthropology at University of California at Riverside in 2013. Specialized in ecological anthropology and ethno-ecology, his research interests are cultural ecology and spiritual ecology, as well as oral history and linguistics of Hani-Akha people in Southwest China and its neighboring Southeast Asian Countries. Prof. Wang published 7 articles in academic jounals such as Asian Ethnicity, IUCN-Policy Matters, Chinese Journal of Ecology, etc. Prof. Wang also published a monography “Cultural Study of Lomi Akha in Thailand” (co-authored with Yang Liujin and E Duo).

Venues

  (1) Seminar Room (B201), Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies (2nd floor), Yunnan Minzu University (Chenggong campus), Kunming

  (2) Conference Room (808), Office of International Exchange & Cooperation, Yunnan Minzu University, Gezhilou, 8th Floor

  (3) Seminar Room (A1205 Gezhi Lou), Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming, A1205 Gezhi Lou, 12th floor

Host Institution Chair

Professor Na Jinhua, President of Yunnan Minzu University

Workshop Co-Chairs

Gunnel Cederlöf, Linnaeus University, Professor of History, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

Dan Smyer Yü, Yunnan Minzu University, Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan studies

Workshop faculty organizing members

Willem van Schendel, Amsterdam University, Professor, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Chair, Modern Asian History

Mandy Sadan, SOAS, University of London, Reader in the History of Southeast Asia, Department of History

Arupjyoti Saikia, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Professor in History & Suryya Kumar Bhuyan Endowment Chair on Assam History, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Host Institution administrative organizers

  • Gao Dengrong, Executive Director, Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies, Yunnan Minzu University
  • Yu Xinli, Director, the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange, Yunnan Minzu University
  • Wang Mingdong, Director, Department of Research and Development, Yunnan Minzu University

Contact Info  

Ms. Shufeng Jia, Tel: +86 182-1389-6824, Email: 269625213@qq.com

Workshop faculty affairs contact

Prof. Dan Smyer Yü, Yunnan Minzu University, Tel: +86 139-1060-3084, Email: dsmyeryu@gmail.com

Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf, Linnaeus University, Email: gunnel.cederlof@lnu.se

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India-China Corridor Spring School 2017
Mar
25
to Mar 26

India-China Corridor Spring School 2017

The India-China Corridor Spring School, Guwahati, 25-26 March 2017

Modern Empires, Flows, Environments and Livelihoods

Organisers and instructional team:

  • Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, the Linnaeus University, Sweden (lead faculty member)
  • Prof. Arupjyoti Saikia, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  • Dr. Mandy Sadan, Department of History, SOAS, University of London
  • Prof. Em. Willem van Schendel, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam
  • Prof. Dan Smyer Yü, Director, Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University
  • Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan, Ashoka University

Venue: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Assam, India

Sponsor: IIT Guwahati, Swedish Research Council

For the first time in three hundred years, India and China are rapidly emerging as global powers in a world economy gravitating from the Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific. Deep histories of interconnection have materialized via enormously varied ecologies and eco-zones, and a broad spectrum of polities across times of interaction, alliances, and warfare. Borders and boundaries have variably hardened, softened and moved, from the times of imperial Mughal, Manchu and British domination until the formation of the nation-states we know today.

The transregional effects have not only cartographically reshaped the interconnected territories of the Himalayas, Northeast India, and the highlands of Southeast Asia. They have also engendered geopolitical perceptions of the eco-geological contiguities, and geo-economic alterations of traditional trade and religious networks between multiple nations and multi-centred ethnolinguistic societies.

Our two day spring school will emphasise processes of movement. The larger region is characterised by interaction, networks, and flows. As in a corridor, via its web of cross-cutting passages, intersections, rooms, entries and exits, people move together with material and immaterial value. Ideas, experiences, habits, and beliefs. Goods, technologies, practices, and skills. From large to small, from armies to vectors, there are processes of movement following geographies and seasons. A tiny stretch of a border crossing can manifest distance and alienation. Simultaneously, vast spatial expanses may host zones of mediated and renegotiated relations. Against this backdrop, the nexus of the region in focus here is not bilateral in nature. Rather complexly it covers a world region spanning from central Asia and the Himalayas to Northeast India and the Southeast Asian highlands.

The Spring School is envisioned as a master class for graduate students and young scholars to present fresh research findings and theoretical perspectives, and to explore new frontiers of transregional studies with leading scholars in the fields of anthropology, history, environmental history, gender studies, and religious studies. The conceptual gravity of this master class is set on the idea of “corridor” in both historical and contemporary contexts. Through the peer-sharing of case studies of modern imperial encounters, environmental conditions of state formation, and transregional networks of different capacities; invited participants will work with the faculty members to pluralize the idea of corridor and theorize it particularly from the perspectives of historical, ecological, environmental, geopolitical, and religious studies. The preferred geographical areas of the participants’ papers are Burma and its adjacent Southeast Asian highlands, Northeast India, Southwest China, the Himalayas, and Tibetan Plateau. 

Schedule

25 March

Session I         On ‘corridor’, flows and hurdles: Imperial Encounters and local transactions (Gunnel Cederlöf)

                       Transregional Flows, Networks and Place-Making (Willem van Schendel)

Session II        River Connections and Environments, the Brahmaputra and beyond (Arupjyoti Saikia)

                       Nature beyond Borders, Borders for Nature (Mahesh Rangarajan)

26 March

Session III      Gendered Environmental Change (Mandy Sadan)

                      Trans-Himalayan religious networks and geopolitics (Dan Smyer Yü)

Sessions IV    Workshop

How to apply

The spring school will admit twelve participants who are either PhD students in their final stages of research or postdoc researchers who are midway in their projects.

Applicants shall submit an application including an abstract with a report on the ongoing PhD or postdoc research project, CV, diploma of the most recent academic degree, university affiliation, and contact infomration of a reference person.

Food and accommodation at IITG is free of charge for participants. Limited availability of travel support.

The Deadline for the submission of applications is 10 November 2016.

Submission of applications to: gunnel.cederlof@lnu.se

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