Taking early-modern and modern periods as our historical timeline, the panel proposes to look at the relationship between communication infrastructures (physical networks of transport through which people, objects and ideas circulated) and processes of state-formation in South Asia.
The proposed panel intends to look at the interconnections between the development of communication infrastructures and the processes of state formation in the early modern and modern south Asia. Communication infrastructures are here understood as all emerging physical ways and means in and through which subjects and objects (such as people, commodities, but also ideas) travel. This includes specifically networks of land, water and air transport but also more recent and physically abstract means of communication such as the telegraph and telephone. We intend to look at the processes of state-formation at different heuristic scales such as local, regional, national and global. State formations encompass all processes and manifestations in which the state and its various constituents take part. We are in particular interested in exploring the role of the means of communication in such processes and how it shaped the excesses and limits of state control. We share the hypotheses that different spatial zones, for instance, 'mainland' or 'borderland' were not given geo-physical attributes but were shaped through state policies of which the networks of communication were very significant, if not crucial. We invite abstracts of papers that contribute to exploring the theme of communication-network and state-structures based on any one specific locality, region or larger territory of the Indian subcontinent or adjacent regions of the Indian Ocean with substantially new findings from their own research projects.