Recent contributions to Myanmar studies suggested by the MyERN team


War and Peace in the Borderlands of Myanmar: The Kachin Ceasefire 1994-2011

In 2011 armed hostilities between the Kachin Independence Organisation and Myanmar Army ended a 17-year ceasefire agreement. The unwillingness of local Kachin people and the Kachin political-military leadership to bow to pressure for a speedy renewal of the ceasefire frustrated many observers and policy makers, who hoped to see a national ceasefire agreement signed between the Myanmar government and the country’s principle armed ethnic organisations. Yet since the ceasefire collapsed, surprisingly little attention has been paid to understanding in detail the experience of the previous 17 years of ceasefire in the Kachin region and how this has influenced local political and military attitudes, or the continuing significance of these experiences in relation to the ongoing national peace process in Myanmar. This book brings together local activists with international academics and acclaimed independent researchers to reflect on these experiences from a variety of cultural, political, economic and social perspectives. Collectively, the authors shed critical light upon the reasons why an area that was once considered an important collaborator in the goal of political transition in Myanmar should most recently have seen the return of significant popular support for a resumption of armed conflict. The arguments and insights that the book offers raise important questions about the social, economic and political development of Myanmar’s ‘border regions’ in recent years that will be relevant long into the future, including after a nationwide ceasefire may be signed. Crucially, the chapters provide important lessons about the dangers inherent in ceasefire agreements when an ‘armed peace’ is implemented that is not accompanied by a substantive commitment to political change.
Copenhagen: NIAS Press

Being & Becoming Kachin: Histories Beyond the State in the Borderworlds of Burma

Original research into Burma, a country of increasing international importance Gives a long term overview of the conflict in Kachin Gives context to hopes for Burma's reintegration into mainstream world politics Extensive use of local interviews, expressing interpretations that are absent in most political and historical accounts of Burma
Oxford: Oxford University Press

Social Dynamics in the Highlands of South East Asia: Reconsidering 'Political Systems of Highland Burma' by E. R. Leach

This reappraisal of Political Systems of Highland Burma, the seminal work by E.R. Leach, presents much new material on the highlands of Southeast Asia and its borders from writers with long-term research experience in these areas. The Introduction establishes in detail both the theoretical and regional ethnographic significance of Leach's work and the chapters to follow. Part One discusses issues relating to Leach's fieldwork, including the background to his research and issues arising from his fieldwork practice. Part Two presents a variety of engagements with Leach's theoretical approach, particularly his ideas of socio-political oscillation. This theory is considered in relation to the historical experience of culture contact in Assam and Laos, particularly between Tai and non-Tai groups. Part Three considers once more Leach's ideas with respect to communities that are, or could be considered, Kachin sub-groups in Burma, Tibet and Yunnan, this time focusing on interpretations of exchange and the notion of ritual language. A discussion of approaches towards the study of transethnicity concludes the work. The book is a significant contribution to the development of a new regional anthropology of Southeast Asia, incorporating material from areas that were, until recently, closed to researchers.
Leiden: Brill