This introductory chapter considers perspectives on modern Kachin ethno-nationalism from the vantage point of different communities in Burma, India, China, and Thailand. It discusses anthropological representations of ‘the Kachin’ in the work of Edmund Leach, Jonathan Friedman, and lately that of James C. Scott, and examines the political implications of these representations. The chapter also considers why historians have found it difficult to undertake detailed studies of this region and the dangers of over-privileging the mandala as the defining historical intellectual apparatus. The methodological approach and objectives of the book are outlined in relation to these issues, with a particular focus on Jinghpaw dynamic political expansionism as a critical historical construct. The chapter concludes by briefly outlining each chapter to follow.
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