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Abstract

In this article, I set out to explore the possibility of a shared life between two places in the highlands of Pakistan and Tajikistan—a region dissected by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan corridor, by present-day nation-state boundaries, by historical divisions between Central and South Asia, and by a former Cold War frontier. Moving away from a take on conviviality as specifically tied to urban spaces and face-to-face encounters, I attempt to trace the processes that determine the coming and going of shared modes of being. In doing so, I first situate the two places—Karimabad and Khorog—in their respective post-Cold War borderlands and point to their historically ambivalent status as 'marginal' places at the frontier, culturally diverse 'hubs', and sites of globalization. Then I analyse the historical build-up—material and ideological—that led to the establishment of specific forms of connection and disconnection between the two places. In the last part of the article, I discuss how people in and from Karimabad and Khorog seek out opportunities to attain shared instances of common sociality, which often remain ephemeral and subject to regimes of power. Finally, I argue that the cases of these two 'marginal hubs' highlight the importance of looking beyond the conventional 'imperial centre' when debating the dynamics that lead people to desire, create, and abandon ties across difference.

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