Locating Zomias Wet and Dry: Stateless Spaces in Maritime and Mainland Southeast Asia


Double Panel

Part 1

Session 11
Fri 13:30–15:00 Room 1.308

Part 2

Session 12
Fri 15:30–17:00 Room 1.308


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How can Southeast Asia be researched and written differently, as we move our input focus away from the state. Looking at Southeast Asia from blurred thresholds between the state and non-state space, this panel shows different ways to write histories, peoples and geographies.

Stateless times and spaces are not anomalies or aberrations in the long history and diverse geography of Southeast Asia. While the stateless is a central theme for Southeast Asia Studies (Scott 2009, Reid 2015), empirical studies of stateless spaces—how they emerge, transform and collapse—are still rare.

In this panel we will show the historical and geographical vicisitudes of the stateless in Southeast Asia through six case studies, using historical and ethnographic methods, covering both mainland and maritime regions. These studies also show that stateless spaces—dry and wet zomias—take a variety of forms. The three studies on mainland will examine how hill-plain relations changed in post-1945 contexts. The studies from maritime will identify four ecological types of wet zomia (riparian, brackish, pelagic and littoral) and illuminate how they facilitate different modes of mobility and network.