Frontiers as state makers: Resource extraction, agricultural expansion and population resettlement in Asian borderlands

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Michael Eilenberg - Foredragsholder

The interdisciplinary Ghent Centre for Global Studies at Ghent University has the honour of inviting you to the public lecture series on Frontiers of Globalisation, in which leading international scholars from different disciplines will offer critical perspectives on the dynamics of people, place and power in today’s globalizing world. Resource extraction, migration, urbanization and commodification are explored as essential frontier processes in shaping that world. The lectures engage with contemporary debates on the rush on resources, the refugee ‘crisis’, urban conflict, and ecological crisis.

Wednesday February 24, 14h00-15h30: Professor Michael Eilenberg (Aarhus University) on Resource Extraction and Sovereignty in Asia.

This lecture examines how borderland regions in Asia are being reimagined as resource-rich, unexploited ‘wastelands’ and targeted for large-scale development schemes for economic integration and control. Common and overlapping features of these geographically-peripheral regions are processes of resource extraction, agricultural expansion, population resettlement, and securitization, and the confluence of these dynamic processes creates special frontier assemblages. Their reframing as resource frontiers heralds a new wave of interventions within them and sparks new asymmetries of power and exclusions around resources. Through the case of the Indonesian borderlands the lecture illustrate how large-scale palm oil plantation expansion fuelled by Malaysian and Singaporean capital intersect with projects of national security, sovereignty and state building.

Frontiers as state makers: Resource extraction, agricultural expansion and population resettlement in Asian borderlands by Professor Michael Eilenberg (Aarhus University, Denmark) This lecture is organized by the Ghent Centre for Global Studies and forms part of the 2016 Public Lecture Series on Frontiers of Globalization, in which leading international scholars from different disciplines will offer critical perspectives on the dynamics of people, place and power in the making of today’s globalizing world. In this lecture, Michael Eilenberg examines how borderland regions in Asia are being reimagined as resource-rich, unexploited ‘wastelands’ and targeted for large-scale development schemes for economic integration and control. Common and overlapping features of these geographically-peripheral regions are processes of resource extraction, agricultural expansion, population resettlement, and securitization, and the confluence of these dynamic processes creates special frontier assemblages. Their reframing as resource frontiers heralds a new wave of interventions within them and sparks new asymmetries of power and exclusions around resources. Through the case of the Indonesian borderlands the lecture illustrate how large-scale palm oil plantation expansion fuelled by Malaysian and Singaporean capital intersect with projects of national security, sovereignty and state building. Michael Eilenberg is Associate Professor in Anthropology at Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University. His primary research interests centre on issues of state formation, sovereignty, autonomy, citizenship, agrarian expansion and climate politics in frontier regions of Southeast Asia. In particular he investigates state-society dynamics in the Malaysian and Indonesian borderlands on the island of Borneo. The anthropology of borderlands and borders is central to his analysis of transnational cross-border movements in the region. He is the author of At the Edges of States: Dynamics of State Formation in the Indonesian Borderlands (KITLV Press, 2012/BRILL, 2014). www.eilenberg.dk
24 feb. 2016

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