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Reflections on multidisciplinary scholarship in the study of Himalayan Borders and Borderlands

George, Noel (2023) Reflections on multidisciplinary scholarship in the study of Himalayan Borders and Borderlands. India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, 79 (1). 109 - 127. ISSN 0974-9284

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Identification Number: 10.1177/09749284221146532


Early mapping of Himalayan frontiers, were intimately tied to the imperial conquest of space. Polycentric contestations of the British, Russian, Qing and even Tibetan expansionist imaginaries dominated such territorial endeavours. In the mid-twentieth century, in the switch from empire to nation, scholarship on borders and borderlands reinforced methodological nationalism in spaces with multiple sovereignty and overlapping treaties. While early post-colonial scholarship critiqued the colonial construction of borders, there have been efforts to tease out newer ways of narrating borders that take cognisance of the continuing heterarchies of violence in the modern nation. Such scholarly ‘decolonial’ endeavours have challenged the overwhelming emphasis on state and territoriality in colonial and later national accounts on borders. By imagining the Himalayan transregional frontier as central, rather than peripheral to state making, these notes challenge the cultivation of the Himalayas as culturally, even civilisationally ‘primitive’. Conceptualising the borderland as an epistemic category, these survey notes synthesise more recent decolonial scholarship on Himalayan borders and borderlands to sketch out emerging geographies of (im)mobility, militarisation and violence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2022 15:39
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2023 23:23

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