Jasnea Sarma delivered one of the keynote talks for the NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies) Generation Asian Conference jointly organized by the University Of Iceland and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) at the University Of Copenhagen.
Dr Jasnea Sarma was invited as one of the keynote speakers for the NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies) Generation Asian Conference jointly organised by the University Of Iceland and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) at the University Of Copenhagen. The other keynote speakers were Carol Gluck (Columbia University) and Chelsea Szendi Schieder (Aoyama Gakuin University.) The conference was opened by the historian and President of Iceland, Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson and held at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík.
In her talk, titled "Being Young and Mobile on an Asian Borderworld", Sarma took the focus on the conferences theme of ‘generation Asia’ to the political geographies of Asian Borderlands – exploring what it means to be young, mobile, and caught up in the ‘intimate geopolitics’ of some of Asia’s violent Borderworlds. The talk first illustrated how and why borderlands in Asia, particularly Northeast India and Myanmar, are also extractive frontier capitalist projects, while also being violent, dangerous, and highly militarised spaces of conflict, state making and armed struggle. Speaking to the conferences thematic question, “How is generational change transforming society, culture and politics across Asia?”, Sarma brought examples from her research on Northeast India, Southwest China and Northern Myanmar to speak about why young people are endure, wait, suffer and profit from crossing violent border spaces in Asia.
She built on on-the-ground documentation of young people’s life stories from Yunnan, Kachin, Shan, Chin, Rakhine, and Mizoram states between India, Myanmar, and China, with an emphasis on what stakes they have in the resource and conflict landscapes both before and after Covid-19 and the 2021 Myanmar coup.