Rethinking the Border: Understanding the Western Himalayas

The long history of frontiers and borderlands of the Western Himalayas. 

The Western Himalayas are a huge geographical area, spanning from eastern Afghanistan all the way up till the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. They are in four different countries, and include regions like Gilgit, Baltistan, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Tibet and parts of Himachal Pradesh. Even though they seem like different regions, in this course we look at the overlaps across these areas, especially the cultural, ecological, economic and political overlaps. We go over 400 years of history of the region, between 1600 – 2000 CE of the region. 

This region’s ecological transformation first took place during colonial capitalism, to meet the needs of the British colonial state. Ecological changes began quite closely with the trade, political history and agrarian economy. This course will examine the ways in which we can examine these changes, as well as terms like frontiers and borderlands which are connected with empire or the nation state.