South Asia

Organized Panel Session

76 - Frontier Discourses: Geography, Law and State-Building in Colonial India

7/6/2018
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Casuarina, Lower Ground Floor

Since the inception of Company Raj, the concept of ‘frontier’ was frequently deployed but remained undefined and lacked logical consistency. As the colonial state grew in size, power, and legitimacy, it sought to impose a variegated grid of control over native polities, subjects, and their associated livelihood patterns. This process drastically reconfigured pre-existing political principles and arrangements.


This panel interrogates the imposition of modern notions of legality in areas where ecological, financial and infrastructural constraints acted as substantial checks on colonial state-building ambitions. The complex issues surrounding legal status of Native States, arrangements to govern primitive/outlawed communities practicing non-agrarian modes of productions and imperatives to check the growth of nationalism demonstrate how open-ended the Rule of law really was. The mineral extraction imperatives in ‘little kingdoms’, penal settlements in Indian Ocean islands and the partition of Bengal etc. have to be seen in this framework of spatial reorganization.


Upon the emergence of the British Crown as the ‘Paramount Power’, the internal and external frontiers begin to be seen as not only ‘buffer’ spaces but as zones of anomaly which were constitutive in the colonizer’s quest to maintain dominance. We also seek to move beyond ‘land’ based idea of the frontier and evaluate discourse of state sovereignty in high seas where the creation of visible boundaries was impossible.    


Interweaving the administrative and academic debates surrounding the concepts of territoriality, sovereignty, and jurisprudence, this panel seeks to enquire into the making of multiple frontiers in the long nineteenth century.

Presentations:

Send Email for Saagar Tewari

Sourav Mahanta

Independent Scholar, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Sourav Mahanta

Suparna Sengupta

Independent Scholar, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Suparna Sengupta

Send Email for Saagar Tewari

Sourav Mahanta

Independent Scholar, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Sourav Mahanta

Suparna Sengupta

Independent Scholar, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Suparna Sengupta

Aniket De

Harvard University, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Aniket De


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