This introduction establishes key frameworks for reconsidering Darjeeling’s past, present, and future. The book’s editors provide a succinct history of the region and an overview of its current circumstances—thereby establishing shared ground for the chapters that follow. Discussing Darjeeling’s status as a crossroads of Asia writ large, the introduction frames the region as a key site for the study of both South Asia and the postcolonial world, broadly conceived. These opening arguments challenge the prevalent yet problematic understandings of Darjeeling as the ‘queen of the hills’—a place somehow apart or above it all—instead calling for a timely rethinking of this often-romanticized region and its people through attention to the historical and contemporary complexities that constitute Darjeeling’s histories, politics, and environments. Highlighting each chapter’s contribution, the introduction launches the book’s project of reconsidering Darjeeling through critical approaches from across the humanities and social sciences.
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