Focus and Scope

The Highlander is an academic, open-access, and peer reviewed online journal, founded in 2015 at the University of Edinburgh, broadly concerned with the study of Asia’s highland communities historically situated at the margins of the state. Articles published in the Highlander elucidate the analogous histories, languages, cultures, politics, and religions of primarily ethnic minorities living in the upland terrains linking Nepal and the Tibetan plateau with Northeast India, Western China, and the highland communities of Southeast Asia – a vast, congruous region sometimes referred to as ‘Zomia’.

The multidisciplinary vision of area studies is perhaps the broadest heuristic promoted by the Highlander. However, the heavily debated lowland-upland dichotomy, often articulated as ‘state’ versus ‘stateless’, ‘centre’ versus ‘periphery’, or indeed ‘developed’ versus ‘backward’, remains a significant trope that, despite its contested historicity or empirical status, spurs prescient debate about cultural elaborations of power, about identity and belonging, about relationships to the natural environment, and indeed about the sources - secular and religious - from which societies draw inspiration, and attribute their power. It is also a dialectic that influences academic publishing, and indeed academia more generally. The Highlander, in the articles it publishes, and in its methodological ethos, continuously problematizes these dynamics, and seeks to create a space that privileges ideas and empiricism above all else, seeking always to foster openness, and to promote debate across material, language, epistemological, and perhaps most critically, imagined boundaries.

The Highlander welcomes submissions that contribute to these debates, and add to the limited but growing knowledge-base of ethnographic, historical, and archival studies on the communities of highland Asia. Themes of interest to the editors include: religious nationalism, indigenous spirituality and theology, orality and narrative, ancestral knowledge, dreams and dreaming, millenarian prophets, kinship systems, patriarchy and gender, spirituality and ecology, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, borderland politics, human-animal relations, territoriality, governmentality, sovereignty, and ‘Zomia’.

Journal Information & Policies

Please see our Journal Information & Policies page for details of the Journal's peer review process, Open Access policy and other journal information.