Organized Panel Session
After the Second World War, countries across South and Southeast Asia achieved independence from European and Japanese imperial rule. These empires had built a quilt of enclaves and entrepôts, excluded areas and autonomous regions, as well as a multiplicity of diaspora populations and special jurisdictions. Drawing upon new trends in scholarship and newly accessible archival collections, this panel considers the following questions: How did certain peoples and aspirational polities claim forms of recognition when new postcolonial state governments worked to subsume them in their own state-making projects? What material forms did these claims adopt, and how were they presented and received? What geographical and ideological networks did they circulate in? What political possibilities were present in this critical postwar period that these claims illuminate? What kinds of political temporalities were invoked in these spaces of decolonization? The papers in this panel identify and interrogate the statist categories and processes through which these places and peoples came to be deemed marginal, bordered or peripheral. Featuring British Burma and Ceylon, Bhutan, Northeast India, and French Pondicherry, these archivally rooted papers are attentive to questions of place-making even as they interrogate the categories of state, minority, citizenship and decolonization.