Recent contributions to Myanmar studies suggested by the MyERN team

2018
Monographs

Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ Conflict

The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims has made global headlines in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, amidst serious allegations of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The impact on Myanmar’s international standing has been massive. However, much of the commentary so far has been reductionist, flattening complex dynamics into a simple narrative of state oppression of a religious minority. Exploring this long-running tripartite conflict between the Rohingya, Rakhine and the Burman-led state, this book offers a new analysis of the complexities of the current crisis: the fears and motivations driving it and the competition to control historical representations and collective memory. The authors question these competing narratives, and examine the international dimensions of this intractable conflict, ultimately arguing that the central issue is a contestation over political inclusion and control over governance.
London: Hurst
2018
Monographs

The Cell, Exile, and the New Burma: A Political Education amid the Unfinished Journey toward Democracy

A Political Education amid the Unfinished Journey toward Democracy. Political essays, features and personal recollections in this book are indispensable readings for anyone interested in understanding of the complexity of Burma and its political situation. These individual stories are a political education amid the unfinished fight for democracy.
Yangon: New Myanmar Publishing House
2018
Monographs

The Other Ladies of Myanmar

In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is often not called by her name. Instead, she is just "The Lady", an honorific nickname that signifies her place in the collective imagination of her country. And from global human rights icon to Myanmar’s de facto leader, she is certainly a towering figure. But The Lady’s reputation has only tarnished in recent years in the face of the persecution of her country’s Rohingya minority. In this new book, we present some of Myanmar’s other ladies: women from across the social spectrum who are changing their country, and its perceptions of gender, from the ground up. From the artist who defied the junta to hand out sanitary towels at her exhibition, to the Muslim campaigner who has already spent a quarter of her life in prison; from the feminist Buddhist nun to the pop star who gets called a whore for performing; these are the voices of The Other Ladies of Myanmar.
Singapore: ISEAS
2017
Monographs

Bagan And The World – Early Myanmar and Its Global Connections

The archaeological site of Bagan and the kingdom which bore its name contains one of the greatest concentrations of ancient architecture and art in Asia. Much of what is visible today consists of ruins of Buddhist monasteries. While these monuments are a major tourist attraction, recent advances in archaeology and textual history have added considerable new understanding of this kingdom, which flourished between the 11th and 14th centuries. Bagan was not an isolated monastic site; its inhabitants participated actively in networks of Buddhist religious activity and commerce, abetted by the sites location near the junction where South Asia, China and Southeast Asia meet. This volume presents the result of recent research by scholars from around the world, including indigenous Myanmar people, whose work deserves to be known among the international community. The perspective on Myanmar's role as an integral part of the intellectual, artistic and economic framework found in this volume yields a glimpse of new themes which future studies of Asian history will no doubt explore.
Singapore: ISEAS
2017
Monographs

Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar – A Critical Approach to Environmental Politics in the South

Across the world states are seeking out new and secure supplies of energy but this search is manifesting itself most visibly in Asia where rapid industrialisation in states such as China and India is fomenting a frantic scramble for energy resources. Due to entrenched societal inequities and widespread authoritarian governance, however, the pursuit of national energy security through transnational energy projects has resulted in devastating impacts on the human and environmental security of local populations. These effects are particularly evident in both Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), which, located at the crossroads of Asia, are increasingly engaged in the cross-border energy trade. Based on extensive fieldwork and theoretical analysis this ground-breaking book proposes a new critical approach to energy and environmental security and explores the important role that both local and transnational environmental movements are playing, in the absence of effective and democratic governments, in providing ’activist environmental governance’ for energy projects throughout the region. By comparing the nature of this activism under two very different political regimes it delivers crucial theoretical insights with both academic and policy implications for the sustainable and equitable development of the South’s natural resources.
Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
2017
Monographs

Reporting the Retreat: War Correspondents in Burma

The British defeat in Burma at the hands of the Japanese in 1942 marked the longest retreat in British army history and the onset of its most drawn-out campaign of World War II. It also marked the beginning of the end of British rule, not only in Burma but also in south and south-east Asia. There have been many studies of military and civilian experiences during the retreat but this is the first book to look at the way the campaign was represented in the Western media: newspapers, pictorial magazines, and newsreels. There were some twenty-six accredited war correspondents covering the campaign, and almost half of them wrote books about their experiences, mostly within a year or two of the defeat. Their accounts were censured by government officials as being misinformed and sensationalist. More recent historians, on the other hand, have criticised them for being too patriotic and optimistic in their coverage and thus giving the public an unrealistic view of how the war was progressing. Philip Woods returns to the original sources to asses the validity of these criticisms.His is the first re-evaluation of the war correspondent's role in Burma and as such will be of great value to students of journalism and media.
London: Hurst & Co
2016
Monographs

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
2014
Monographs

Burma/Myanmar: Where Now?

Recent changes in Burma/Myanmar pushed through by the new government of Thein Sein have been called the ‘Burmese democratic spring’. While the international media have mainly focused on the economic opportunities offered by these changes and on the doings and sayings of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, the reality is far more complex. The country is desperately poor, divided by ethnic and religious rivalries, and continues to suffer from some of the world’s most intractable military conflicts. In addition, powerful factions within the ruling elite oppose the reform process. Where, then, is the country heading? What are the key challenges it will face? Who are likely to be the key players in the unfolding events? What implications are there for international actors in arenas like policy, diplomacy, development and business? With contributions on topics like the political situation, international relations, ethnic and religious rivalries, the economy and the prospects for investment and development, long-time observers of the Myanmar/Burmese situation offer insights and analysis that address these issues. The material is augmented with essential background information and relevant names and references. The result is a tightly focused volume that will appeal to a broad readership interested in the current situation and its implications – scholars, journalists, diplomats, business people, activists, tourists, etc.
Copenhagen: NIAS Press
2014
Monographs

Burmese Lives

The most up-to-date exploration of ordinary Burmese, taking into account the recent amazing transition from authoritarianism to an emerging democracy Showcases interdisciplinary approaches, covering anthropology, history, literature, ethnomusicology, economics and political science
New York: Oxford University Press
2013
Monographs

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
2007
Monographs

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
2004
Monographs

The Maritime Frontier of Burma: Exploring Political, Cultural and Commercial Interaction in the Indian Ocean World, 1200-1800, Leiden: KITLV Press

Situated at the edge of south and southeast Asia, the maritime frontier of Burma has never received the attention it deserves from historians, though it served as an important cultural and commercial crossroads connecting all the regions surrounding the Bay of Bengal. This volume brings together a unique array of scholars to explore Burma’s distinctive role in the Indian Ocean world.
Leiden: KITLV Press
2001
Monographs

The Palaung in Northern Thailand

Today over two thousand Palaung—a group of mountain peoples who speak Mon-Khmer—live in a handful of villages north of Chiang Mai in Thailand. They fled here from Burma in the 1980s to escape the fighting between communist insurgents and Burmese army troops. Though granted sanctuary, in the late 1990s many of the Palaung in Thailand found themselves involved in a new conflict over land use in northern Thailand's environmentally degraded highlands.
Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books