Picture at a bridge with people walking over it

India-China Corridor Spring School 2017

Sat, Mar 25, 2017 9:00am Sun, Mar 26, 2017 5:00pm

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.