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Abstract

Although borders haunt its historical and recent past as well as its contemporary political situation, Kashmir has rarely been theorized as a borderland. This article examines the perspective of borderlands as conceptualized in North American, Asian and African borderlands scholarship. It argues that the application of this perspective – in which borderlands are defined as middle grounds where imperial competition and negotiations among a variety of imperial and indigenous actors led to the production of distinct political cultures – to rethinking Kashmir’s history has the potential to liberate the region from the imperatives of national borders that misread its history, while also reinvigorating South Asian borderlands scholarship.