This is the inaugural issue of The Highlander: Journal of Highland Asia, an academic peer-reviewed, and Open Access Journal published by the University of Edinburgh. Arkotong Longkumer and Michael Heneise (editors) introduce the Journal by proposing Highland Asia as a region of study, tracing the impetus and precedent for such a project through the widely debated concept of 'Zomia’, first developed by Willem van Schendel (2002) and later popularised by James C. Scott (2009).
Short contributions by Oliver Tappe, Bengt G. Karlsson, Jelle J P Wouters, and Dolly Kikon are responses, critiques and further developments of the idea of Highland Asia. This issue ultimately is a call for contributions toward opening new spaces of discussion and debate. It includes a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, focusing on similarities and differences, generalities and particularities of the myriad histories, languages, cultures, politics and religions, involving ethnic minorities living in the upland terrains linking Nepal and the Tibetan plateau with Northeast India, the Pamirs, Western China, and the highland communities of Southeast Asia – a vast, congruous region sometimes referred to as ‘Zomia’.