- Frontier as a modern imaginary
- Protestant missions in upland Southeast Asia (the Kachin region of Myanmar in particular)
- Vernacularism as a modern historical movement
The above three themes are inter-related, but they can also be presented as distinct topics. Firstly, I investigate how “frontier” has emerged and prevailed in the past two centuries in a specifically American imagination. By investigation the spatial history of this imagination’s movement, I present a set of insights to modernity–especially as it relates to colonialism and post-colonialism. Secondly, I analyze the formation of evengalical frontiers by examining the history of Protestant missions into upper Myanmar; I approach the evangelism as an alternative modernity in the upland region. Thirdly, I also pay particular attention to the spread of literary culture–the promotion of writing and literacy–as a distinctly modern movement. I call this movement “vernacularization” and scrutinize the doctrine of vernacularism, typically seen in the upland contexts.