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Alessandro Rippa (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München): “Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China”

7. December 2021, 18:15 - 20:15

Across the Chinese borderlands, investments in large-scale transnational infrastructure such as roads and special economic zones have increased exponentially over the past two decades. Based on long-term ethnographic research, Borderland Infrastructures addresses a major contradiction at the heart of this fast-paced development: small-scale traders have lost their historic strategic advantages under the growth of massive Chinese state investment and are now struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Concurrently, local ethnic minorities have become the target of radical resettlement projects, securitization, and tourism initiatives, and have in many cases grown increasingly dependent on state subsidies. At the juncture of anthropological explorations of the state, border studies, and research on transnational trade and infrastructure development, Borderland Infrastructures provides new analytical tools to understand how state power is experienced, mediated, and enacted in Xinjiang and Yunnan.

More information and a link to the PDF of the book which is fully Open Access:

Alessandro is a social anthropologist interested in issues surrounding infrastructure, borders, globalisation, conservation and the environment, particularly in the contexts of the China-Myanmar borderlands and the Italian Alps. He is the author of Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and of numerous articles in journals such as Social Anthropology, The China Journal, Political Geography, and Ethnos. Alessandro obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen in 2015, and held postdoctoral positions at LMU Munich and at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is currently based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, where he leads the 5-year project Environing Infrastructure (www.environing.asia) funded by a “freigeist” fellowship from the Volkswagen Foundation. Alessandro is currently on leave from his position as Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at Tallinn University.

Meeting ID 960 4473 3388
Passcode 948177


7. December 2021
18:15 - 20:15


Ostasiatisches Seminar & CeMEAS