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Borders, Histories, Existences

Borders, Histories, Existences
Gender and Beyond

First Edition
  • Paula Banerjee - Vice-Chancellor, The Sanskrit College and University

November 2009 | 296 pages | SAGE India
This is a historical work on borders and bordered existences, with special emphasis on the gender dimensions of these existences. The book is replete with the experiences of women geographically located on borders who, the author argues, define those borders as well as themselves. The work spans a wide canvass from critical feminist theory to a study of the security/insecurity of vulnerable communities living along borders.

Borders are often sites of exclusion and inclusion in the context of South Asia; they symbolize control and the urge to challenge and transcend that control. Resistance results in greater efforts to control. The medium of control changes over time but what remains constant is the fact that the control of borders necessitates control of bodies. Historically, border studies have suffered from simplification of the issues on the one hand, to collusion with forces that privilege a few, on the other. In this book the author portrays how states construct borders and try to make them static and rigid. She goes on to discuss how bordered existences, such as those of women, migrant workers and people afflicted with AIDS, destabilize these apparently rigid constructs.

Introduction: Histories and Historians of Borders
Aliens in the Colonial World
Borders as Unsettled Markers: The Sino-Indian Border
The Line of Control: Kashmir
The Border People
Negotiating Differences: The Indian State and its Women in the Borderlands
Mobile Diseases and the Border
Border Laws and Conflicts in North-east India

Borders, Histories, Existences by Paula Banerjee is a gripping enquiry into the nature of South Asian borders… Banerjee’s brilliant analysis delves deep into the recent developments in border studies while at the same time going back to different histories only to give them a new rendering with the help of the contemporary concept of borders… Borders, Histories, Existences is a distinctive and broadening contribution to Asian studies. Students of politics, history and gender will find it very beneficial to their respective fields… The most attractive feature of Borders, Histories, Existences is its emphasis on borderlands as a unique form of existence instead of going for the notorious defense and strategic studies. Despite the large academic scope of the work it is quite accessible and can be used as an introduction by those who are interested in border studies.


Backed by data, historical fact and popular narrative, this timely book helps the reader to understand that human rights and security are complementary paradigms – one cannot be sustained without the other. 

Himal SouthAsian

Paula Banerjee

Paula Banerjee specializes in issues of border and borderlands in South Asia. She has published extensively on issues of gender, forced migration and peace politics. Her recent publications include a volume entitled Borders, Histories, Existences: Gender and Beyond (2010). S he has edited a volume entitled Women in Peace Politics (2008) and co-edited books on Internal Displacement in South Asia (2005), Autonomy beyond Kant and Hermeneutics (2007) and Marginalities and Justice (2009). S he has been working on themes related to women, borders and democracy in South Asia, and has published extensively in journals such as International Studies... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789352809547

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