Nation building or state making?

  • June 12, 2012
Nation building or state making?

Berenice Guyot-Rechard wins British Association for South Asian Studies prize.

A Gates Cambridge scholar has won the British Association for South Asian Studies Annual Prize 2012 for her paper on India’s attempts to integrate its isolated north-east frontier to the rest of the country.

Bérénice Guyot-Réchard‘s paper, ‘Nation-buildling or state-making? India’s North-East Frontier and the ambiguities of Nehruvian developmentalism’, won the best paper and presentation by a postgraduate student at the BASAS annual conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, the premier conference on South Asian studies in the United Kingdom.

The award, which was judged by the conference organisers and council members, includes a £250 prize and publication, following peer review, in the journals Contemporary South Asia or South Asian Studies.

Bérénice [2009] is doing a PhD in history, focusing on India’s north-eastern borderlands in the transitional period after India’s independence in 1947.

She says: “Unlike the rest of India, this mountainous, tribal region had been largely unadministered and unexplored under colonial rule. My objective is to understand how the young Indian state tried to re-shape this strategic area, located between India and China, into a part of India’s national space. My intent is not only to study a region that is marginal both in reality and in scholarly literature, but also to offer some insight into its troubled present.”

Her paper cautions against the tendency in many post-colonial countries to see development as a straightforward tool for national integration. She is now preparing it for publication.

Picture credit: dipindy and Creative Commons.

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