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The culturally heterogeneous uplands of Southeast Asia constitute a zone of encounters and relations across cultural difference. The Introduction to this Special Issue lays out key themes that encompass the questions addressed by the individual essays. Moreover, it discusses concepts—such as...
This essay argues that imperial Vietnamese officials produced legible subjects through the genre of imperial ethnography in the decades before French colonial rule in northern Vietnam. Focusing on one official working in the Northwest, it connects Vietnamese imperial ethnography both to the...
Examination of unpublished colonial military archives on the Tonkinese borderlands offers new insights into the conditions within which indigenous inhabitants of these remote uplands made a living at the turn of the twentieth century. After sketching the background, methods and historical...
When the French finally seized control of the Lao territories on the east bank of the Mekong from the Siamese in 1893, Houaphan became an internal upland frontier region within colonial Indochina. Unfamiliar with the concept of overlapping spheres of sovereignty—during the nineteenth century,...
Inspired by a critical reading of James Scott's The Art of Not Being Governed (2009) which argued that Highlanders in Southeast Asia have intentionally evaded ‘state capture and state formations’, I offer a contrasting vision of Highlander motivations and desires from the Central Highlands of...
This article explores how Tai highlanders experience mobility. The Tai Vat living in Houaphan Province, Laos, first fled Vietnam at the end of the nineteenth century, and again during the First Indochina War. They presently engage in migrations to rural areas of the Mekong Plain as well as to...
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