Call for Chapter Proposals for edited book on,“Objects and Frontiers: Between the Mekong and the Indus, 18th to 20th Century”

Manjeet Baruah's picture
Call for Publications
November 2, 2015
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies

We are accepting chapter proposals for an edited book on, “Objects and Frontiers: Between the Mekong and the Indus, 18th to 20th Century”. Objects play an important role in the shaping and practice of historical cultures. One of the dominant approaches to the study of objects has been that of material culture. In addition, objects have also been studied in the context of making or nature of frontiers and borderlands. For example, objects have been discussed in colonial scholarships as well as in the emerging borderland scholarship on North East India. However, in this regard, the general focus has not been to understand frontiers and borderlands from the vantage point of objects themselves. As a result, in studies of frontier and borderlands, objects exist as illustrations of arguments worked out irrespective of the objects in question.

This edited book on Objects and Frontiers aims to address this absence. Focusing on the areas between the Mekong and the Indus, the book brings objects to the centre of enquiry in the understanding of frontiers and borderlands. Given the significance of the 18th century as a moment of historical transition, the book would like to focus on the period between the 18th and the 20th century. This would enable in understanding the processes of frontier making during this period and the place of objects in it. In this regard, the areas between the Mekong and the Indus provide an exciting field to study the significance of objects and the making of frontiers.

Covering major river systems such as the Mekong, the Chindwin, the Irrawaddy, the Brahmaputra and the Indus, the area between the Mekong and the Indus straddles various frontiers and borderlands. It also covers uplands such as the Patkai, the Himalayas, the Karakoram etc. For example, even during colonialism, frontiers such as the North West Frontier and North East Frontier got produced. Historically, these areas have been connected through various routes. These routes have played a significant role in processes of migration and social relations, movement of ideas, trade, and state expansions. But along with state making practices and expansions, these areas have also witnessed challenges to these practices due to the nature of their locations, highlighting how inhabitants of these areas have historically engaged themselves in polity formations.

Under the rubric of frontiers and borderlands, the book would explore some of the following themes, but not limited to: (1) Objects and Historical Change (2) Objects and Power (3) Objects and Circulation (4) Objects and State Making Practices (5) Objects and Everyday Life (6) Objects and Aesthetics

As highlighted above, Objects and Frontiers do not take a static view of the nature and role of objects in the making or transformations of frontiers and borderlands. If frontiers and borderlands are dynamic spaces, as pointed out in other studies, the book seeks to interrogate and understand this dynamism from the vantage point of objects. There are advantages of such an approach. Firstly, objects as sites of engagement between the social and the spatial, an under-researched subject in the field, is opened for wider discussion and for possible future studies. Secondly, it will be a step in the direction of theorising frontiers and borderlands based on the material and ideational constructs around objects and their real-time place in the lives of people. In the absence of any full length study on the subject, it is hoped that the book will be of interest to researchers and scholars of various disciplines and those involved in the study of frontiers and borderlands.

Orient BlackSwan in principle has agreed to publish the edited book (pending peer review). Interested contributors may kindly send an abstract of 300-500 words including CV to Dr. Manjeet Baruah ( and Dr. Lipokmar Dzuvichu (

Editors: Dr. Manjeet Baruah and Dr. Lipokmar Dzuvichu are Assistant Professors in North East India Studies Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline: 02 October, 2015

Abstract Acceptance Notification: 06 November, 2015

First Draft of Full Article Due: 25 March, 2016

Final Article Due: 27 May 2016

Contact Info: 

Dr. Manjeet Baruah

Assistant Professor

North East India Studies Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India.


Dr. Lipokmar Dzuvichu

Assistant Professor

North East India Studies Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India.

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