IMPERIAL ENCOUNTERS AND LOCAL TRANSACTIONS
Gunnel Cederlöf is professor of history at the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and a Visiting Professor at Shiv Nadar University, U.P., India. She studies the environmental and legal history of modern India and the British Empire. She is the principle investigator of the India-China Corridor project. Her research seeks to establish the impact of environment, climate, and mobility on the formative processes of subjecthood and of British colonial governing institutions on the North-eastern Frontiers. Her work takes off in the from the results presented in Founding an Empire on India’s North-Eastern Frontiers, 1790-1840: Climate, Commerce, Polity (2014).
flows and placemaking
Willem Van Schendel is professor of history working at at Amsterdam University and the International Institute of Social History, the Netherlands. He heads the research project ‘Flows and Place-Making between Southwest China and the Indian Ocean’. It seeks to advance methodologies for studying the mobility of people, goods and ideas. Building on the socio-spatial concepts of place, scale, network and territory, it focuses on two major networks in Asia: connections across the Indian Ocean (the maritime network) and connections across the Himalayas (the river-andmountain network). These networks have been studied for the pre-colonial period but hardly for the period of the past 200 years. The project will connect hitherto separate academic research on three major nodes in the India-China “Corridor”: Yunnan (south-west China), Northeast India, and Bengal (India/Bangladesh). Van Schendel has carried out research in Bangladesh and India during the past three decades.
GENDERED ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
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-sources for studies of ritual language and visual and material culture. Her new research is 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.
Trans-Himalayan knowledge and religious practices
Dan Smyer Yü is professor of anthropology and Director of the Centre for Trans-Himalayan Studies at Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming, China. His research targets new conceptual grounds of Himalayan studies in his recently initiated China’s New Silk Road Initiative. He also makes comparative studies of secularisms in India and China, and researches the affective nexuses of water, religious emotionality, and trans-boundary hydraulic politics in the greater Himalayan region. He will make two contributions to the India-China Corridor project: ‘Reconceiving local environmental knowledge among missionaries, colonialists and modernized natives’ and ‘The secularization of religions in the imperial encounter of the British and the Manchus in the South West Silk Road.’
River connections and environments
Arupjyoti Saikia is professor of history at Indian Insitute of Technology Guwahati, India. He is a leading environmental historian in Assam. Presently he pursues research on the socio-ecology of the Brahmaputra river valley. The first results will be published in monograph form as The Brahmaputra: An Environmental Biography of Modern Times. 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.