The Newsletter 96 Autumn 2023

Technologies, Zones and Co-existences

Eva P. W. Hung

I began my research on the political economy of cross-border parallel trade between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China in 2014. Since then, attending the Asian Borderland Research Network (ABRN) conference has become an irresistible opportunity for me to get connected with scholars in the larger field of Borderland Studies.

The biennial conference brings together both rising and renowned scholars to discuss various aspects of borderland research, making it an ideal platform for intellectual exchange and exploration. The countries where the conferences took place were also exciting. Nepal (ABRN5), Kyrgyzstan (ABRN6), and South Korea (ABRN7) are countries with a rich cultural heritage and complex histories with their neighbours, making them ideal locations to explore the intricacies of borderlands. What is more fascinating, however, is how each country was also tightly connected to the respective conference theme. ABRN5 was about dynamic borderlands, which was best reflected in how Nepal’s geographical landscape shapes the livelihoods and communities of people living in the borderlands. ABRN6’s theme, “Ruins, Revivals and Resources”, reflects the rich archaeological heritage and vast natural resources of Kyrgyzstan. And what better choice for the conference in South Korea than to focus on “Technologies, Zones and Co-existences” (ABRN7), through the country’s advanced technological infrastructure and its existence with the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that separates it from North Korea? What I appreciate most about the ABRN conference is not just its unique focus on borderland research but also how the location speaks to different issues of border regions. The intellectual exchange is always stimulating, and I came away with new insights and perspectives that will undoubtedly shape my future research on borderlands.


Eva P. W. Hung, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong