New Book: Frontier Tibet, edited by Stéphane Gros

Frontier TibetFrontier Tibet: Patterns of Change in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands, edited by Stéphane Gros.

Amsterdam University Press, 2019. Collection “Asian Borderlands”.

This new edited volume explores the intertwined questions of place-making, identity, and socio-political transformations that constitute convoluted historical trajectory of the Kham region and influenced its becoming as a regional formation within the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands.

Frontier Tibet considers how starting in the late nineteenth century imperial formations and emerging nation-states developed competing schemes of integration and debated about where the border between China and Tibet should be. It also ponders the ways in which this border is internalised today, creating within the People’s Republic of China a space that retains some characteristics of a historical frontier.

The region of eastern Tibet called Kham, the focus of this volume, is a productive lens through which processes of place-making and frontier dynamics can be analysed. Using historical records and ethnography, the authors challenge purely externalist approaches to convey a sense of Kham’s own centrality and the agency of the actors involved. They contribute to a history from below that is relevant to the history of China and Tibet, and of comparative value for borderland studies.

Kham is used in the volume as a heuristic to explore collective and individual trajectories at crucial historical conjunctures and to demonstrate that Kham is highly relevant for the study of Asian borderlands and our understanding of ‘Tibet’ in its relationship to ‘China’, both understood as contingent entities with shifting territorial imprints.

The table of content and foreword are accessible on the book page, and the whole volume is in open-access format.

To support Open Access, consider recommending the book to your librarian. 

 


Stéphane Gros

Stéphane Gros is a social anthropologist at the CNRS (France), Centre for Himalayan Studies. He is the author of a monograph on the Drung of Northwest Yunnan province in China (La Part manquante, 2012), and has written numerous articles and book chapters on issues of interethnic relations and representations of ethnic minorities, poverty and categorization, as well as rituals and cosmology. He has edited or co-edited four collections of relevance to ethnographic theory, Chinese studies, and area studies. For 2012-2016, he was the Principal Investigator for a collaborative project titled "Territories, Communities, and Exchanges in the Kham Sino-Tibetan Borderlands", funded by a ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant. His personal research currently investigates aspects of kinship and social organization, conversion to Christianity, as well as heritage politics and environmental discourses.

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