East Asian Topologies of Power

TopologiesEast Asian Topologies of Power

An Interdisciplinary Cross-Currents Symposium

The recently published special issue “Frontier Tibet: Trade and Boundaries of Authority in Kham” (Stéphane Gros ed.) will be presented and discussed at the occasion of a symposium to be held on February 24 at UC Berkeley.

This symposium will bring into conversation the guest editors of three recent issues of the UC Berkeley-based e-journal Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review and three additional East Asia scholars to explore the special issues’ thematic convergence on China and its neighbors, on space, and on cartography. Rather than regarding the emergence of the state as a top-down imposition, the three issues suggest that a vast range of state, ethnic, mercantile, and affective practices cohere to reify and give solidity to the fiction of the state. Further, the articles point to: 1) forms of territorial affiliation and sovereignty that are nodular and rhizomic rather than spatially homogeneous; and 2) to tensions between the fiction of territorial fixity and the realities of a geopolitical footprint in flux. This roundtable discussion will, therefore, focus on two primary theoretical points: the state at the margins and territorial topologies.

Participants: Franck Billé (UC Berkeley), Pat Giersch (Wellesley), Stéphane Gros (CNRS), Hue-Tam Ho Tai (Harvard), Peter Perdue (Yale), Kären Wigen (Stanford), Wen-hsin Yeh (UC Berkeley)

The special issues are all accessible on the open-access Cross-Currents website:

Frontier Tibet: Trade and Boundaries of Authority in Kham. Vol. 19 (June 2016) addresses questions of economic history and political legitimation in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands.

Mapping Vietnameseness. Vol. 20 (September 2016) explores the emergence of Vietnam’s geographical consciousness and the imagery of national belonging.

Cartographic Anxieties. Vol. 21 (December 2016) explores modern nations’ desire for cartographic appropriation and the anxieties that this desire generates.


Location: Geballe Room, 200 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

February 24, 2017      •     1:30–5:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public

Download the flyer

Stéphane Gros

Stéphane Gros is a social anthropologist at the CNRS (France), Centre for Himalayan Studies. He has been conducting anthropological research in Northwest Yunnan province in China since the mid-nineties and published a monograph on the Drung, a long-deprived minority of swidden agriculturalists (La Part manquante, 2012). He has published a number of articles on issues of interethnic relations, ethnic classification, representations of ethnic minorities, gender and kinship, poverty and categorization. His more recent personal research investigates heritage politics and environmental discourses in this region. He is currently coordinating a collaborative project on the Sino-Tibetan Border, "Territories, Communities, and Exchanges in the Kham Sino-Tibetan Borderlands", funded by a ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant. He is also Editor-at-Large at HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, an online and open-access anthropology journal.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *