Himalayan Pathways and Central Asian roads
Talk at the Anthropology Club, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
In public imaginaries, Asian mountain societies continue to figure as remote and isolated realms of lifestyles that have elsewhere long disappeared. Meanwhile, development rhetoric posits new corridors, Silk Roads, and special economic zones as remedies for this presumed lack of connectivity. What is often absent from the debate are historical continuities and actual practices of cross-border connections. Comparing structural similarities and historical differences between the Eastern Himalayas and the Pamirs, this talk raises the question what the role of trade was and is in Asian mountain societies, and under which conditions border regions in Highland Asia can benefit from their location at the crossroads of global connectivity.