New Book: Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces, edited by Gunnel Cederlöf and Willem van Schendel

Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces: Histories of Networking and Border Crossing, edited by Gunnel Cederlöf and Willem van Schendel

Amsterdam University Press (Asian Borderlands series), 2022.

Well-known historians Gunnel Cederlöf (Professor of History at Linnaeus University, Sweden) and Willem van Schendel (Professor of History, University of Amsterdam) offer a new contribution to the study of Asian borderlands with this volume focused on mobility and connections across the Himalayas.

Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces traces movements and connections in a region known for its formidable obstacles to mobility. Eight original essays and a conceptual introduction engage with questions of networks and interconnection between people across a bordered landscape. Mobility among the extremely varied ecologies of south-western China, Myanmar and north-eastern India, with their rugged terrain, high mountains, monsoon-fed rivers and marshy lowlands, is certainly subject to friction. But today, harsh political realities have created hard borders and fractured this trans-Himalayan terrain. However, the closely researched chapters in this book demonstrate that these borders have not prevented an abundance of movements, connections and flows. Mobility has always coexisted with friction here, but this coexistence has been unsettled, giving this space its historical shape and its contemporary dynamism. Introducing the concept of the “corridor” as an analytical framework, this collection investigates mobility and flows in this unique socio-political landscape.

This edited volume is published open access and is made available on the OApen website.


1.Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces: An Introduction (Willem van Schendel and Gunnel Cederlöf)

2.Spatial History in Southern Asia: Mobility, Territoriality, and Religion (David Ludden)

A Long View

3.The Road Getting in All under Heaven Cosmology: The Bazi Basin Society in West Yunnan (Jianxiong Ma)
4.Tracking Routes: Imperial Competition in the Late-nineteenth Century Burma-China Borderlands (Gunnel Cederlöf)
5.‘Circulations’ along the Indo-Burma Borderlands: Networks of Trade, Religion and Identity (Joy Pachuau)
6.Flows and Fairs: The Eastern Himalayas and the British Empire (Arupjyoti Saikia)

Mobilities Today

7.How to Interpret a Lynching? Immigrant flows, Ethnic Anxiety and Sovereignty in Nagaland, Northeast India (Jelle Wouters)
8.Frictions and Opacities in the Myanmar-China Jade Trade (Henrik Kloppenborg Møller)
9.Multiple identities of Young Sittwe Muslims and Becoming Rohingya (Tharaphi Than and Htoo May)

Cite this blog post
Stéphane Gros (2022, August 22). New Book: Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces, edited by Gunnel Cederlöf and Willem van Schendel. The Himalayas and beyond. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from

Stéphane Gros

Stéphane Gros is a social anthropologist at the CNRS (France), Centre for South Asian and Himalayan Studies (CESAH). 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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