Highland Asia as a field of anthropological study
Zomia, in the sense exulted by James C. Scott (2009) as an abode of purposeful political anarchy and anti-stateism, is not an emic conceptualization, not a particular place or an incantation of a collective identity referred to or professed by particular populations of humans. As a spatial and social reality, or as a word-concept, Zomia, then appears an exercise in scholarly magical realism (evidence is ‘thin’, ‘limited’, and ‘ambiguous’, as Victor Lieberman (2010: 339) puts it more discreetly). It is a form of geographical and historical imagination that nevertheless has begun to ‘escape’ the narrow corridors of the academy and into public discourse where it now lives a life of its own. It is an original imagination no doubt – an optic that stimulates fresh scholarship – but one simultaneously cannot escape that Zomia-disciples are letting their imagination run away with them.
De Josselin de Jong, Jan P.B. 1980. ‘Indonesia as a Field of Ethnological Study.’ In: Structural Anthropology in the Netherlands: A Reader. Edited by P.E. De Josselin de Jong, 164-182. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
De Josselin de Jong, Patrick E. ‘The Concept of the Field of Ethnological Study.’ In: The Flow of Life: Essays on Eastern Indonesia, edited by James Fox, 317-326, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
De Josselin de Jong, Patrick E. 1984. Unity in Diversity: Indonesia as a Field of Anthropological Study. Dordrecht and Cinnaminson: Floris.
Eggan, Fred 1954. ‘Social Anthropology and the Method of Controlled Comparison’, American Anthropologist 56(5): 743-65.
Evans-Pritchard, Edward Evan 1965. Positions of Women in Primitive Societies and Other Essays in Social Anthropology. London: Faber and Faber.
Farralley, Nicholas 2013. ‘Nodes of Control in a South(east) Asian Borderland.’ In: Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia, edited by David, N. Gellner, 194 – 213. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Gellner, David N. 2012. ‘Uncomfortable Antinomies: Going beyond Methodological Nationalism in Social and Cultural Anthropology.’ AAS Working Papers in Social Anthropology 24: 1-16.
Gellner, David. N. 2013. ‘Introduction: Northern South Asia’s Diverse Borders, from Kachchh to Mizoram.’ In: Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia, edited by David, N. Gellner, 1 – 23. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Gravers, Mikael (ed.) 2007. Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.
Gurr, Ted R. 2000. Peoples versus States: Minorities at Risk in the New Century. Washington: United States Institute of Peace.
Lieberman, Victor 2010. ‘Review Article: A Zone of Refuge in Southeast Asia? Reconceptualizing Interior Spaces’, Journal of Global History 5(2): 333-346.
Michaud, Jean 2010. ‘Editorial – Zomia and Beyond’, Journal of Global History 5(2): 187-214.
Michaud, Jean 2016. ‘Introduction: Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Scale, Magnitude, and Range in the Southeast Asian Massif.’ In: Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif (2nd edition), edited by Jean
Michaud, Meenaxi Barkataki Ruscheweyh and Margaret B. Swain (eds.), 1-34. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Schein, Louisa 2000. Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China’s Cultural Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Shneiderman, Sara 2010. ‘Are the Central Himalayas in Zomia? Some Scholarly and Political Considerations across Time and Space. Journal of Global History 5(2): 289-312.
Shneiderman, Sara 2015. Rituals of Ethnicity: Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Van Schendel, Willem 1992. ‘The Invention of the “Jummas”: State Formation and Ethnicity in Southeastern Bangladesh’, Modern Asian Studies 26(1): 95-128.
Van Schendel, Willem 2002. ‘Geographies of Knowing, Geographies of Ignorance: Jumping Scale in Southeast Asia’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20(6): 647-668.
Woods, Kevin 2011. ‘Ceasefire Capitalism: Military-Private Partnerships, Resource Concessions and Military-State Building in the Burma-China Borderlands’, The Journal of Peasant Studies 38(4): 747-770.
Wouters, Jelle J.P. 2011. ‘Keeping the Hill Tribes at Bay: A Critique from India’s Northeast of James C. Scott’s Paradigm of State Evasion’, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 39: 41-65.
Wouters, Jelle J.P. and Tanka B. Subba 2013. ‘The “Indian Face”, India’s Northeast, and the “Idea of India”, Asian Anthropology 12(2): 126-140.
Wouters, Jelle J.P. 2018. In the Shadows of Naga Insurgency: Tribes, State, and Violence in Northeast India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Copyright (c) 2019 Jelle J P Wouters
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.