Boundaries and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands: Chin refugees in Mizoram

This seminar will consider the case of Chin refugees from Myanmar in the north-east Indian State of Mizoram, drawing on Migdal’s (2004) concepts of ‘virtual checkpoints’ and ‘mental maps’ to analyse and interpret the trajectory of boundary-creation, boundary-policing and boundary-removal in Mizo-Chin relationships. It is often assumed that the life course of displacement is one of deteriorating relationships between refugees and a host community. This seminar will consider whether recent conditions in Mizoram offer preliminary evidence for an alternative outcome, of a case study where cognitive boundaries have not simply hardened against incomers but have (to some extent) expanded to accommodate those previously defined as Other.