New York University, Abu Dhabi
Mark Swislocki is Associate Professor and Program Head of History at New York University Abu Dhabi. His current research addresses the environmental history of southwest China, and histories of street food and culinary mobility, the latter supported by an NYU Global Seed Grant. His publications include Culinary Nostalgia: Regional Food Culture and the Urban Experience in Shanghai (Stanford, 2009), as well as articles in Late Imperial China, Radical History Review, positions: east asia cultures critique, and Twentieth Century China.
The southwest corner of China known today as Yunnan Province must be counted among the most travelled, inaccessible places on earth, and one of the better understood, unknown parts of the world. A “landlocked” territory located between today’s Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Yunnan’s accessibility is further shaped by its upland location, on the Southeast Asian Massif. Paradoxically, it has also been a nexus of world history and globalization for two millennia, and even longer if we count the archaeological, rather than the written, record. Much of Yunnan’s historic connectivity came through interior routes, raising questions about the reconfiguration of Yunnan’s connectivity and accessibility via Asia’s evolving and new port cities, both interior and coastal, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This paper applies methodologies from the field of computational humanities to answer those questions.
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