Supported project

Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN)

The Asian Borderlands Research Network has been developed with the intention of focusing particularly on the border regions between South Asia, Central/East and Southeast Asia. A conference is organised in one of these border regions in co-operation with a local partner every two year. The concerns of the Asian Borderlands Research Network are varied, ranging from migratory movements, transformations in cultural, linguistic and religious practices, to ethnic mobilization and conflict, marginalisation, and environmental concerns.

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.

 

    Research Programme

    The purpose of the Asian Borderlands Research Programme is to encourage academic research on Asian border regions, including exchange between both local and foreign scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The concerns are varied, ranging from migratory movements, transformations in cultural, linguistic and religious practices, to ethnic mobilization and conflict, marginalisation, and environmental concerns. The aim of the Asian Borderlands Research Programme is to generate new knowledge and methodologies in order to better understand these transitional zones, and contribute to a reconfiguration of theoretical and methodological approaches to border regions in general. At present, the Asian Borderlands Study Programme primarily includes scholars who have been working on the transformation of culture and society in South and Southeast Asia.

    Conferences

    ABRN organises a conference in one of these border regions together with an Asian partner every two year.

    2018
    Borderland Spaces: Ruins, Revival(s) and Resources
    Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

    2016
    Dynamic Borderlands: Livelihoods, Communities and Flows
    Kathmandu, Nepal, 12-14 December 2016
    Co-organiser: Social Sciences Baha.


    2014
    Activated Borders: Re-openings, Ruptures and Relationships
    Hong Kong, 8-10 December 2014
    Co-organiser: Southeast Asia Research Centre at City University of Hong Kong

    2012
    Connections, Corridors, and Communities 
    Singapore, 11-13 October 2012
    Co-organisers: Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

    2010
    Asian Borderlands: Enclosure, Interaction, and Transformation
    Chiang Mai, Thailand, 5-7 November 2010

    Co-organise: Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) at Chiang Mai University, Thailand

    2008 
    First ABRN Conference
    Guwahati, Assam, India, 16-18 January 2008
    Co-organiser: Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati, India.

    Partners

    Network partners:

    • IIAS (secretariat)
    • Leiden University
    • University of Amsterdam
    • Researchers from various institutions worldwide