In the Dark Shadow of Colonial Legacies

In the Dark Shadow of Colonial Legacies: British "Scientific Frontier" Scheme and Origins of the Sino-Indian Border Disputes
Date & Time: 
Monday, February 5, 2018 -
16:00 to 17:30
Yuanmei YAO, Associate Professor of History, East China Normal University
Room 1504, NYU Shanghai | 1555 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai


The world of our times is shaped by many factors, a critical one of which is colonial legacies. The British “scientific frontier” scheme, a project envisioned and proposed by the British imperialists for constructing a “safer” and “more defendable” colonial empire in the Indian subcontinent since the 1850s, had sowed the seeds of the Sino-Indian border disputes that resulted in a war between the two great Asian countries in 1962. With the support of extensive and original research in British and other archives, Professor Yao unearthed much previously less or non-used documentation to demonstrate that the “scientific frontier” as called by the British colonialists is by no means scientific. Rather, it has made the Hindu Kush and Himalayas borders one of the most chaotic and instable frontier regions in today’s world. 

The talk is given by Dr. Yuanmei Yao, who is Associate Professor at the Cold War Study Center, East China Normal University. She is a specialist in the border disputes along with the Hindu Kush and Himalayas. She is the author of Being in a Quandary and Reaction: Britain and the Indo-Pakistani Kashmir Dispute (1947-48). She has also published (in China) several journal articles around the subject, such as “The Making of the Black Hole in the Af-Pak Frontier”, “The Durand Line, A trap for Afghanistan’s Invaders”, “The Indian ‘Scientific Frontier’ that British Built since 1850s and the Making of the Border Dispute along with Hindu Kush and Himalayas” and so on.

Chair/Commentator: Professor Chen Jian, Distinguished Global Network Professor of History, NYU Shanghai and NYU

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Lecture hosted by the NYU Shanghai-ECNU Center on Global History, Economy and Culture

Location & Details: 

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