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For two thousand years, the peoples residing in Zomia -- the mountainous region that stretches from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to northeastern India -- have fled the organized state societies in the valleys. Far from being 'remnants' left behind by civilizing societies, they are "barbarians by choice", peoples who have deliberately put distance between themselves and lowland, state-centers.
James Scott, director of the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination.
The event was Cornell's eighth Frank H. Golay Memorial Lecture.