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Borders in the forest: productive enclosure and ecological refuge in the Eastern Himalayas

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 04:44 authored by Alex Aisher
Progressing ethnographically through a series of (b)ordering artefacts and practices, this paper explores how upland clans of the Nyishi tribe in the internationally contested borderland of Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas perceive critical borders in their lives. Through ethnographic examination of a series of border artefacts and indigenous articulations of borders, the paper shows how (b)ordering practices in upland Arunachal Pradesh underpin not only human political division of the landscape, but also the spiritual topography of forest and its more-than-human refuges. Examining borders as sites of conflict and resistance, but also sites of reciprocal exchange and social-ecological flourishing, the paper seeks to articulate an indigenous view of a healthy border between people and the forest and productive enclosure of its forest refuges.Here in upland Arunachal Pradesh enclosure, not freedom, underpins flourishing, and a primary activity of human beings in relation to their more-than-human counterparts is to maintain borders.


Publication status

  • Accepted

File Version

  • Accepted version


Journal of Contemporary Religion




Taylor & Francis

Department affiliated with

  • Anthropology Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Centre for World Environmental History Publications


Special issue title: Religion at the borderland: conceptualizing ‘Borders’ through the study of religion

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


J Maud, Diaz M Dominguez

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