The purportedly irreconcilable aims of “area studies” versus formal disciplines are a long-standing concern. In reality, their objectives are often inseparable, and approaches that start from and center a region have strongly contributed to theory building within disciplines. Few social scientists have been so productive in building bridges between these competing frames as James C. Scott, as evidenced by his celebrated body of work, his election to the presidency of the Association for Asian Studies, and his receipt of meritorious citations such as the Social Science Research Council's 2020 Albert O. Hirschman Prize, awarded to “scholars who have made outstanding contributions to international, interdisciplinary social science research, theory, and public communication.”

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