chapter
3 Pages

Introduction

WithChristine Bonnin

This chapter focuses on a rich set of studies that investigate the intersections between mobility, commodities, and borders in Asia by asking similar kinds of questions. It argues that commodity-level research is ideally placed to draw out broad, dynamic themes that can expand the study of borders and borderland processes in Asia, themes such as state and territory formation, changing consumption meanings and values, and the direction of global capital. The chapter also focuses on the production and consequences of the mobility—and immobility, in many cases—of goods across borders. It outlines why some processual histories or 'process geographies' have been useful for informing more contemporary studies of commodities in Asian borderlands. The chapter deals with a brief consideration of one specific commodity: the Himalayan yak tail. It focuses on scholarship influenced by the notion of the 'commodity chain' as well as the idea of creating a 'cultural biography' of an item.