Transborder Movements and the States in South Asia

Nasir Uddin's picture
Call for Papers
January 20, 2017 to January 21, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Human Rights, Political Science, Social Sciences, South Asian History / Studies

Call for paper

International Workshop on

Transborder movements and the states in South Asia

January 20-21, 2017

Venue: Asian University for Women, Chittagong

Concept note

States produce borders as much as borders reproduce the states in terms of territoriality whilst ‘deterritorialisation’ (Appadurai, 1990) features the contemporary globalised world. Therefore transborder movements, what denotes the mobility of people, materials, and knowledges across borders, have become a part of modern state-system as borders both separate and connect the states. Generally border is understood as a form of demarcation, but it opens up the flow of people, goods, and the ideas of legality & illegality. Therefore, borders are dynamic and dyadic in the interface of state and non-state actors involved in border operations and utilisations. Besides, people migrate from one state to another due to environmental disasters, mounting riverbank erosion, periodic flood & cyclone and devastating earthquake (for instances, Nepal and Pakistan earthquakes), which render them ‘climate migrants’. Furthermore, the political economy of borders provides distinct notions and natures of states involved. Consequently the transborder movement becomes a complex web when the states deal with it as an issue of national/regional security, legal/illegal trades, growing militancy, terrorisation of border regions, and the questions of citizenship. Though borders are called the ‘zones of limited statehood’ (Scott, 2009), the states represent there with unlimited forces, finance, and policies. The states in South Asia could be the ideal cases to understand such dynamic and dialectical relations between transborder movements and the states. Particularly, due to mounting pace of transborder movements, borders between India and Pakistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh, Bangladesh and Myanmar, India and China, India and Nepal, Sri Lanka and India frequently feature tensions of potential security threats, intermittent border killings, loaded military deployment, space of illegal migrations, channels of informal trade, movements of militants, influx of refugees, boundary (un)making through border fencing,  cases of inter-state political economy, movements of climate migrants, and the area of strategic interests.

Given the context, the workshop focuses the ways how borders are dealt with from strategic and diplomatic point of view in South Asia; how borders become spaces for people to move from one state to another in search of a better fortune (economic migrants), escaping persecution (refugees) and finding a disaster-free living place (climate migrants); how the states in South Asia address transborder movements at both policy level and practical fields; how borders are used for illegal trades and informal economy in South Asian states; How refugee crises, illegal migrations, citizenship issues and camp/stranded people are dealt with in South Asian states as consequences of transborder movement; and how the notions of territoriality of statehood become blurred due to the increasing transborder movements in South Asia.

The International Workshop on ‘Transborder movements and the states in South Asia’ invites abstract of 350 words from the scholars working on borders and borderland people; migration and refugee issues; camp/stranded people and citizenship issues; climate migrants, the state and statelessness; border trade and informal economy; transborder mobility and statehood; the political economy of transborder movement; inter-state border policy and strategic issues; border, security issues, and militancy in South Asia. Abstract along with short academic biography of 150 words should be sent to: or or by October 15, 2016.

The workshop is designed as part of a book project which is planned to publish from an internationally reputed publishing house following the workshop outcome. Regrettably the organisers are not in a position to bear the travel fare, but will be happy to provide local hospitality (lodging, meals and local transportation) during the workshop days at the cost of a decent registration fee (USD $75 or 5000 BDT). We are still looking for funding and if it somehow works out, the local hospitality will be provided at free of fee.

Workshop organisers:

Professor Nasir Uddin, University of Chittagong 

Dr. Nasreen Chowdhory, University of Delhi 

Dr. Meherun Ahmed, Asian University for Women

Contact Info: 

Professor Nasir Uddin, Department of Anthropology, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, Email: