Drawing on a decade of fieldwork in the borderlands of northern Bangladesh and eastern India, A Thousand Tiny Cuts: Mobility and Security Across the Bangladesh-India Borderlands (U California Press, 2023) chronicles the slow transformation of a connected region into national borderlands and shows the foundational place of gender and sexuality in the meaning and management of threat in relation to mobility. It recasts a singular focus on border fences and border crossings to show, instead, that bordering is an expansive and accumulative reordering of relations of value. Devaluations--of agrarian land and crops, borderland youth undesirable as brides and grooms in their respective national hinterlands, disconnection of regional infrastructures, and social and physical geographies disordered by surveillance--proliferate as the costs of militarization across this ostensibly "friendly" border. Through a textured ethnography of the gendered political economy of mobility across a postcolonial borderlands in South Asia, this ambitious book challenges anthropological understanding of the violence of bordering, migration and citizenship, and transnational inequalities that are based on Euro-American borders and security regimes.
Sneha Annavarapu is Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Yale-NUS College.