11–14 Apr 2019

Highland Asia Workshop

Final Workshop for ERC Project on Highland Asia

Highland Asia Team


In this workshop, we invite scholars to participate in open-ended and wide-ranging conversation on the nexus of remoteness and connectivity in Highland Asia in a comparative and historical perspective. Comprising places such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Tibet and Myanmar, crisscrossed by the militarized borders of rising powers and rich in natural resources, a multitude of stakes and analytic positions are attached to these frontiers. Such spaces have long been discursively produced as remote. They figure as sanctuaries for insurgents, as realms of authentic tribal culture, trafficking routes contraband and illicit trade, or simply as rural peripheries in need of development. In the meantime, Highland Asia inhabitants frequently find themselves at the crossroads of intensive exchange of natural resources, labour, capital, commodities and ideas. Highland Asian livelihoods are evidently shaped as much by connectivity as by remoteness.

Since 2015, our project has been exploring the interplay of remoteness and connectivity in spaces such as the Wakhan Valley, Eastern Nepal, Kashmir, Xinjiang and Myanmar’s Kachin state. Using ethnographic, visual and archival methods, we have explored a diverse range of questions relating to agrarian transformation, urban aesthetics, political violence, climate change, big infrastructure, scientific exploration, trade networks and social movements in the Asian highlands.

This will be the last workshop for our European Research Council-funded initiative- “Remoteness & Connectivity: Highland Asia in the World.” In the course of the workshop we seek to take stock of the research, initiatives and ideas that we have developed in the past four years and put them into conversation with different projects looking at the highlands of Asia as a terrain of inquiry.

Rather than a standard presentation-based format, we envision this workshop as an informal get together in which we can inspire each other and muse on future directions for research and collaboration. To do so, we would like you to bring a piece of your own work related to the core issues of the Highland Asia project (www.highlandasia.net). This could be a paper draft, a book chapter, a film, a photo essay, a piece of art. We do not aim at publishing a special issue as an outcome of the workshop, but hope it will be an opportunity for thinking together, sharing insights, and comparing notes.

The event is also sponsored by ERC Starting Grant: Remoteness and Connectivity: Highland Asia in the World and hosted by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at LMU.

List of Participants

  • Emily T. Yeh, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Matthäus Rest, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
  • Till Mostowlansky, The Graduate Institute Geneva
  • Anna-Maria Walter, LMU Munich
  • Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester
  • Carolin Maertens, LMU Munich
  • Martin Saxer, LMU Munich
  • Marlen Elders, LMU Munich
  • Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi, University of Zurich
  • Aditi Saraf, LMU Munich
  • Rune Steenberg Reyhe, University of Copenhagen
  • Galen Murton, LMU Munich and James Madison University
  • Alessandro Rippa, University of Colorado Boulder

Programme and Abstracts

The programme can be found here; the abstracts here.

Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
martin.saxer@lmu.de | +49 89 2180 9639

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