Assam State Archives in Guwahati, India

Research Interests:

    • Politics of state-building and governance at the margins of contemporary states

    • The intersection between geopolitics, state-building, and subnational conflicts

    • Buffer states and buffer zones in the post-WWII era (in collaboration with Boaz Atzili)

    • The legacies of imperial order and frontier governance

Dissertation Project:

Explaining Territorial Control and State-Building in Highland Peripheries of India and Myanmar

My dissertation examines the politics of subnational territorial control and state-building in geographically challenging border regions of South and Southeast Asia. Departing from the prevailing theories of state formation emphasizing the center's capacity and will, my dissertation examines the role of alliances and frictions between the state center and peripheral elites at the edges of state boundaries. I examine how and why these local bargains between the state and hill elites take place, and whether these local dynamics create conditions for the center's state-building efforts in these border regions. This project aims to provide a novel explanation for the dynamic center-periphery relations and uneven state-building process observed in border highland regions of South and Southeast Asia pioneered by James Scott. To realize this, I combine extensive field interviews and archival research on the border regions of northeastern India (Mizoram, Nagaland) and northern Myanmar (Chin, Kachin).

Manuscripts in Progress:

"Uneven Violent Geographies: External Pressures, Selective State-Building, and Peripheral Conflict" (under review)

"Buffer Dataset, 1945-2020" (with Boaz Atzili and Grace Benson)

“Pulling the Center In: Territorial Expansion within the Northeast Frontiers of British Raj”

“Cold War Alliances, Domestic Power Struggles, and Counterinsurgency in Northern Highlands of Thailand, 1937-1980”