The Value of Comparison
Peter van der Veer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen, Germany and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He is the author of several books, including
This chapter focuses on those who live in the mountainous margins of civilizational heartlands and, today, in the border areas of modern nation-states. These peoples have been the typical subjects of anthropological research because of their remote, relatively isolated locations, the small scale of their societies, and their cultural differences from the civilizations that are adjacent to them in the plains. The chapter critiques forms of romanticization of those who live in the mountain areas that connect India and China and attempts to give a contextualized picture of anthropological thinking about hill people in this area.
This chapter discusses why...