The 34th Zomia Seminar

Date: March 23 (Fri), 2018 (14:00-18:00)
Venue: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
Inamori Memorial Building Room 201 (Tonantei)

Program: 14:00-18:00
“War, Gender and Memory: Circulation of Conflicting Narratives about a Naga Female Interpreter and a Japanese Soldier during WWII in the Tangkhul Naga area of Manipur, Northeast India”
by Makiko Kimura (Tsuda Women’s University)

“Santali language print media and the Jharkhand imagination.”
by Nishaant Choksi (Kyoto University)

“Metageography and Area Studies: Is “Zomia” a geo-body or a metaphor?”
by Masao Imamura (Yamagata University)

15:00-15:45 Discussion

15:45-16:00 Break

“Fragmented Sovereignty and Unregulated Flows: The “New Silk Road” and the Banglaesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor” 
by Willem van Schendel (University of Amsterdam)

In recent years, the idea of the Silk Road has been reconceptualised as an inter-state enterprise led by China – a politically and culturally sanitised venture in which engineering feats and economic planning will lead to a ‘win-win attempt for all.’ In this talk I look at the frailties of such technocratic planning in view of flows and networks that states cannot control, or even clearly perceive. I consider an ‘economic corridor’ that links the overland and maritime Silk Roads – the stretch of land connecting Kunming and Kolkata across Myanmar and Bangladesh. This corridor presents many of the obstacles that the ‘New Silk Road’ is likely to face, notably distrust among states, implementation deficits, fragmented sovereignty and the vigour of unregulated flows across international borders. My presentation suggests that the plan, far from offering a ‘win-win’ solution, will produce unintended and unpredictable outcomes with many losers.

17:00-18:00 Discussion


This event is co-organized by the Joint Research Project of CSEAS “Yunnan-Kachin-Assam Corridor: Will China, Myanmar and India Connect in the Interior?” (Representative: Masao Imamura, Yamagata University


Zomia Study Group contacts: Koichi Fujita, Mio Horie, Hisashi Shimojo
(Koichi Fujita: kfujita[at]