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About the Journal

The Highlander is an open-access journal hosted by the Highland Institute Hosting Service. All material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence, unless otherwise stated.

Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Highlander Journal is an academic, open-access, and peer-reviewed online journal, broadly concerned with the study of populations historically situated at the margins of the state, and is inspired by debates on the spatio-cultural aspects of ‘Zomia’. This concept was used originally to imagine an alternate cartography of upland Asia, which in-turn spurred debates on state, culture, and social formation in the so-called peripheries. The Journal is a unique and accessible forum for multidisciplinary and comparative discussions, taking these concepts within and beyond Asia and thereby engaging with global conversations on interconnection and fragmentation.

The Journal extends its scope beyond traditional area studies and invites contributions that enlarge conceptual and comparative discussions within and across ‘Highland’ contexts in Asia and elsewhere. The circulation of the concept ‘Zomia’ and its utility as a paradigm to view relations of Highland societies and their global connections opens new possibilities for discussion. These debates complicate existing tropes that are framed as a lowland-upland dichotomy, often articulated as ‘state’ versus ‘stateless’, ‘centre’ versus ‘periphery’, or indeed ‘developed’ versus ‘backward’. Such tropes have initiated prescient debates about cultural elaborations of power, about identity and belonging, about relationships to the natural environment, and indeed about the sources - secular and religious - from which societies draw inspiration, and attribute their power. The Highlander, in the articles it publishes, and in its methodological ethos, continuously problematizes these dynamics, and seeks to foster openness. It promotes debate across material, language, epistemological, and perhaps most critically, imagined boundaries.

The Highlander welcomes submissions that contribute to these debates and add to the growing knowledge base of ethnographic, historical, and archival studies on Highland Asian communities and their interactions with the world. Themes of interest include: religious nationalism, indigenous spirituality and theology, orality and narrative, ancestral knowledge, dreams and dreaming, millenarian prophets, kinship systems, patriarchy and gender, spirituality and ecology, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, borderland politics, human-animal relations, territoriality, governmentality, and sovereignty. We also invite contributions that engage the Asian Highlands (or Zomia) and its interconnections in convergent or comparative discussions that engage other Highland regions in Europe, Africa, Americas, Australasia, and the Poles. Apart from articles, we also accept contributions in several other formats such as photo and review essays, which are geared towards fostering rigorous, open, accessible, and continuous conversations.

Section Policies


Open Submissions


Peer Reviewed

Photo Essays

Open Submissions


Peer Reviewed

Book Reviews

Open Submissions


Peer Reviewed

Special Issues

Open Submissions


Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Editors acknowledge receipt of all submissions. Papers that do not correspond with the rationale of the journal, are insufficiently original, seriously flawed, or with poor English language may be rejected at this stage. Suitable papers are anonymised and passed on to two or more reviewers, selected for their expertise in the area of the submitted paper. Referees are asked to evaluate whether the submission:

  1. Is original
  2. Is theoretically and methodologically sound
  3. Is rigorous and critically engaged with relevant work
  4. Contributes to the overall goal of the journal

A decision on whether to accept or reject the paper, along with any recommendations and comments from the referees will be sent to the author by the Editors, who hold the final decision on accepting or rejecting papers.

Publication Frequency

While we aim to publish two issues in a year, on occasion we have shifted to a rolling submissions model in which all content, including special sections, are ultimately tallied as annual volumes. 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

The Highlander publication ethics and malpractice statement has been written in accordance with COPE general guidelines

  • Publication decisions: The executive editor of The Highlander is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. The editor is guided by referees’ reports and may consult other editors or reviewers in making these decisions. The editor is also guided by the journal’s policies and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
  • Fair play: All manuscripts will be reviewed based on intellectual content without regard for age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of origin, or political philosophy of the authors.
  • Confidentiality: All manuscripts submitted for peer-review are kept strictly confidential. The editors and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, as appropriate. At no time will editors or reviewers utilize submitted materials without the consent of the authors.
  • Fundamental errors in published works: When a significant error or inaccuracy has been discovered in a published work (with or without the author notifying it), the journal editors will cooperate with the author to retract or correct the paper accordingly. If a correction is deemed appropriate, the editors reserve the right to correct the published material and include a dated erratum.

Duties of Authors

  • Multiple, or Concurrent Publication: Authors must guarantee that submitted manuscripts have not been published elsewhere, are not currently under review elsewhere, and have been submitted with the full knowledge of their institutional home. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
  • Originality and Plagiarism: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited or quoted. Any manuscripts that do not meet originality requirements will be rejected without peer-review. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
  • Acknowledgement of Sources: Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
  • Authorship of the Paper: Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
  • Fundamental errors in published works: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
  • Copyright: During the submission process the authors are asked to agree agree to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Copyright Notice, which will apply to the submission if and when it is published by this journal.

Duties of Reviewers

  • Promptness: Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
  • Confidentiality: Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editors.
  • Standards of Objectivity: Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
  • Acknowledgement of Sources: Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
  • Disclosure and Conflict of Interest: Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

Take Down Policy

Journals using the Highland Institute hosting platform are encouraged to make every effort to ensure that published content does not infringe any person's rights, or applicable Indian laws. However, if you believe that content, in any of the journals hosted on this platform, may be illegal, please contact the Highland Institute librarian who will review the complaint and take appropriate action.


The Highland Institute


Please note the Library is staffed 9-4pm Monday through Friday

Making a complaint

In the body of the email please provide the following information:

  1. Describe the infringement in as much detail as possible so that the specific content may be readily identified. The URL in the address bar will allow us to lookup the specific section.
  2. Describe your relationship to the content, e.g. I am the author/creator of the material.
  3. Describe the grounds for complaint, some examples are:
    • Unauthorised use by reason of reproduction and/or making available the material.
    • Breach of the moral right of [paternity/integrity/right not to have my work subjected to derogatory treatment].
    • Other complaints, e.g. defamation, breach of confidence, data protection.

On receipt of your complaint, the librarian will:

  1. Make an initial assessment of its validity
  2. For all but spurious complaints, temporarily remove access to the item that is subject to complaint
  3. Acknowledge receipt of the complaint by email
  4. Contact the journal responsible for the publication of the content in question to invite a response
  5. Seek to verify your identity and authority as complainant
  6. Refer the complaint to the University's Legal Advisor for comment and advice

Potential outcomes:

When the librarian has verified the authenticity of your complaint and has been advised that it is ostensibly legitimate, the file will be permanently removed from public access.


If the Legal Advisor confirms that it does not breach any law then the item will be reinstated.