Boundaries and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands: Chin refugees in Mizoram

Chin, Myanmar

Boundaries and Belonging in the Indo-Myanmar Borderlands: Chin refugees in Mizoram

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 - 2:00pm
Venue: 
Deakin Room
Speaker(s): 
Kirsten McConnachie (Warwick)
Chair: 
Dr Kevin Fogg
Convenor: 
Dr Matthew J Walton
Series: 
Southeast Asia Seminar

This seminar will consider the case of Chin refugees from Myanmar in the north-east Indian State of Mizoram, drawing on Migdal’s (2004) concepts of ‘virtual checkpoints’ and ‘mental maps’ to analyse and interpret the trajectory of boundary-creation, boundary-policing and boundary-removal in Mizo-Chin relationships. It is often assumed that the life course of displacement is one of deteriorating relationships between refugees and a host community.  This seminar will consider whether recent conditions in Mizoram offer preliminary evidence for an alternative outcome, of a case study where cognitive boundaries have not simply hardened against incomers but have (to some extent) expanded to accommodate those previously defined as Other.

Kirsten McConnachie is an Assistant Professor in Law at the University of Warwick. Since 2007, her research has focused on refugees from Burma/Myanmar: first with Karen refugees in camps in Thailand and more recently with Chin urban refugees in Malaysia and India. Her first  book, Governing Refugees: Justice, order and legal pluralism (Routledge 2014), analysed camp governance and the administration of justice among Karen refugees in Thailand. She has also published on issues including governance by non-state armed groups, the history and management of refugee camps, legal pluralism and non-state justice systems, forced migration in Southeast Asia, critical victimology, transitional justice, and constitutional reform.