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Editorial – Zomia and beyond*

  • Jean Michaud (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2010

This editorial develops two themes. First, it discusses how historical and anthropological approaches can relate to each other, in the field of the highland margins of Asia and beyond. Second, it explores how we might further our understandings of the uplands of Asia by applying different terms such as ‘Haute-Asie’, the ‘Southeast Asian Massif’, the ‘Hindu Kush–Himalayan region’, the ‘Himalayan Massif’, and in particular ‘Zomia’, a neologism gaining popularity with the publication of James C. Scott’s latest book, The art of not being governed: an anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia.1 Through a discussion of the notion of Zomia, I will reconsider certain ‘truths’ regarding highland Asian studies. In the process, I seek to contribute to disembedding minority studies from the national straitjackets that have been imposed by academic research bounded by the historical, ideological, and political limits of the nation-state.

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