Asian Borderlands Research Network

About the Asian Borderlands Research Network

Scholarly and political boundaries divide Asia artificially into units, such as South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and so on. These divisions not only mask the many and varied commonalities that transcend such boundaries, they also reinforce the marginalisation of people who live in the so-called border areas. Yet a better appreciation of these ‘transitional zones' is in fact critical to our historical understanding of processes of social and cultural change in the states lying beyond them. Nonetheless, such a focus remains peripheral to area studies and the disciplines which feed into them.

The Asian Borderlands Research Network has been developed in order to recognise the links, both historical and contemporary, that connect people in these borderlands, focusing on the border regions between South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, where the prevailing notions of area studies have been particularly limiting.

The purpose of the network is to encourage academic exchange between both local and foreign scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Its concerns are varied, ranging from migratory movements, transformations in cultural, linguistic and religious practices, to ethnic mobilization and conflict, marginalisation, and environmental concerns. Its aim is to generate new knowledge and methodologies in order to better understand these transitional zones, and to contribute to a reconfiguration of theoretical and methodological approaches to borderlands in general.  We particularly want to invite scholars from any of the regions involved to participate in the network, its conferences, and to contribute to the organizational effort.