These workshops build on work that has already been developed with the objective of supporting early-career researchers in the Global South to present work of a high academic standard and to build networks with each other. This has been established through the activities of the India-China Corridor project, which has been encouraging research in an emerging field from new researchers who work across disciplines and across traditional area studies boundaries and would not normally come into communication with each other.
There is a clear need for such activities to counteract hierarchies of academic control and exclusion, as established in the seminal work by Willem van Schendel on ‘Geographies of Knowing, Geographies of Ignorance: Jumping Scale in Southeast Asia’ (2002), which has resulted in a proliferation of activity and transformative research around the notion of ‘Zomia’ as a ‘Geography of Ignorance’. The members of the India-China Corridor project have individually produced ground-breaking work in this area of research, but significantly have also worked on numerous local educational development initiatives and in support of early-career researchers in this emerging field.
The opportunities for local researchers in marginalised areas of Myanmar to meet with international scholars and for the latter to provide academic guidance are extremely slim to non-existent. To date, only one international conference on the history of the Kachin region has been held locally. The workshop will, therefore, build incrementally on work that is ongoing and well-established, and will add significantly to the capacity of local researchers to extend to new networks in India, China and Myanmar and to support each other, as well as to receive individual mentoring leading to journal publications through those connections, in substantive ways.