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Call for Chapters 2015 : Modern Wilderness: Mobility and Friction in the Frontiers of Asia and the Americas from ca. 1800


When Oct 31, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014
Where n/a
Submission Deadline TBD
Categories    asia   latin america   usa   frontiers

Call For Papers

The present book seeks to investigate the role of the frontier in the making of modern Asia and the Americas, and it does so through the study of movement, contact, and exchange. The volume will bring together scholars from several areas of study (Central, East, South and South East Asia, US, Latin America and the Caribbean). The result will be an innovative collection of essays, bridging two continents that are usually studied separately. The aim of this book is twofold. Firstly, Modern Wilderness is an invitation for the scholarly community to read, think and write beyond the limits of traditional area studies. Secondly, in the wake of the digital revolution, when geographical frontiers seem to have been replaced by virtual non-places, this book reclaims the importance of physical space in the making of modern history.
The mobility turn has shown how locally rooted experience is almost invariably shaped by regional, national, and transnational flows. But the term “flow” is highly metaphorical and perhaps only truly accurate when applied to the cyberspace ―and this, again, is not actual space. The human experience of actual space has always been characterised by friction, that is, the effort invested in moving things and oneself. In the words of Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, friction is “the sticky materiality of practical encounters,” an idea subscribed by the editors of this book, who are also asking contributors to bear in mind Stephen Greenblatt’s claim, “mobility must be taken in a highly literal sense.”
The historical experience of the frontier, under the “globalising” umbrella of modernity, has been very similar worldwide. Nation-state making, imperial ideologies, technological advance and natural retreat, market penetration, ethnic resistance to standardisation, among others, illustrate processes with quintessentially modern traits between the 19th and 21st centuries, and are comparable across continents. Nevertheless, traditional academic practice has usually constrained research to remain within the bounds of “area studies,” which is an historical or historiographical construct in itself. Transnational studies have helped to blur some of these relatively fictional lines, but the inward-looking nature of academic departments has tended to militate against the wider optic. Clearly, now is the time to think outside the box, and this volume provides an exemplary array of groundbreaking studies which soar beyond the limits of traditional comparative works.
We are not asking collaborators to take a stab in the dark. Instead we want scholars to write about their field of expertise and to be part of a collective effort that will measure two continents by the same standard (modern frontiers) in one single volume. No major study has yet brought together frontier scholars from both sides of the Pacific.
Historians, anthropologists, geographers and all social scientists interested in frontier history are welcome to participate. The book is aimed at Asianists and Americanists, and it seeks to make a contribution to the growing literature on transnational and global studies, as well as to the related ―and currently booming― mobility paradigm. This book should, one hopes, trigger transcontinental collaboration in the form of seminars, courses, and scholarly publications. Several academic publishing houses have already shown interest in the project.


• Everyday Life.
• National identity.
• Environmental history.
• Historical ecology.
• Anthropology.
• Ethnohistory.
• Historical anthropology.
• Border disputes.
• Mobility.
• Comparative history.
• Economic history.
• Historical geography.
• Ethnic politics.
• Historiography.
• Domination and resistance.
• State expansion.
• Missionary activity.
• Commercial traffic.
• Gender.
• The body.
• Race.
• Border zones.
• Borderlines.
• Hybrid cultures.
• Tradition and modernity.
• Rivers and seas.

The review of chapter proposals will begin immediately and will be accepted until 31 December 2014. We ask that proposals do not extend beyond 2-3 pages (Times New Roman 11), including:
- An abstract (max. 300 words).
- Summary of your proposed chapter.
- Personal information (name, email address, institution, rank/position/title, short biography).


Jaime Moreno Tejada is an historical geographer, currently based at Chulalongkorn University (Thailand). Jaime was awarded his Ph.D. from King’s College London (2009), the result of which was a book-length monograph on the production of modern spaces in Amazonia —Little Amazon: Frontier Modernities in the Upper Napo Region of Ecuador, 1870-1930 (2013). Forthcoming publications include “Castles in the Air: Rise and Fall of the Hacienda System in the Upper Amazon, 1910-1940” (2015). Jaime is interested in comparative analysis, mainly between tropical regions, and at present is investigating the experience of modernity in a marginal Thai province.
Bradley Tatar is a cultural anthropologist with interests in political conflict, social movements and natural resource conflicts. He received the Ph.D. in 2003 from the University at Albany and currently teaches in UNIST in Ulsan, Korea. Currently he is managing co-editor of AJLAS, Asian Journal of Latin American Studies. His publications bridge his interests in Latin America and Asia, including the following: Emergence of Nationalist Identity in Armed Insurrections: A Comparison of Iraq and Nicaragua (2005), and The Challenge of Governance: Cultural Barriers to Enforcement of the IWC Whaling Moratorium in Korea (2012).


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