A Brief History of Flight from the State
Presidents Hall, Franklin Hall
“Zomia,” the designation invented by Willem van Schendel for that portion of upland Southeast Asia that has, until recently, evaded incorporation into nation states and empires, could be, metaphorically, extended to other areas of the world that have become zones of state evasion. My talk explores some of those zones in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Though Zomia is mountainous, wetlands, swamps, marshes, deltas and even city slums have also served historically as refugia for state-fleeing populations. The principles of geography, subsistence practices, mobility, and social structure that abet both state avoidance and state-prevention are examined.