Burma Past and Present: Religion, Ethnicity and Power is an event series of readings and discussions of works in progress. We focus on issues of identity, conflict and religion in Burma from the nineteenth century to the present.

This is a pivotal moment for Burma and the study of Burma. The next years will see a huge transition for the country and its diasporas. It is key to think through both the long history of the current fractures in Burmese society (religious identities, ethnic identities) as well as how the contemporary situation reconfigures these in important ways. The speakers are organized in four thematic clusters: Religious Minorities; Ethnicities and Belonging; Critical Studies of Buddhist Monasticism; Economy, Activism and Politics. The series is organized by Alicia Turner (Humanities).

All are welcome. 

Series events for Winter 2024

The Return of Mi Shwe Tin? Native Litigation, Oil Boom, and the Articulation of “Buddhist Law” in Colonial Burma with Chao Ren, University of Michigan | 18 January 2024

Earlier Series Events

Women’s Agency in Armed Struggles in Myanmar’s Spring Revolution with Aye Lei Tun, McMaster University | 14 December 2023

The Eyewitness: The Life and Times of Dr Clement Williams at the Court of King Mindon in Mandalay, 1861–1879 with Ron Graham, award-winning author and journalist | 30 November 2023

Living Off the Land: Migration from Myanmar and the (Dis)Locations of Nature in Refugee Lives with Nicole T. Venker, Cornell University | 02 November 2023

Evolution of China-Myanmar Relations in the Aftermath of the February 2021 Coup with Wa Lone, University of Toronto | 26 October 2023

Women’s Voices Unplugged: Aural Disturbances and Buddhism Debased with Andrew Dade, University of Toronto | 21 September 2023

Pāramī and Rebirth in the Lives of Thilashin with M K Long, Cornell University | 25 April 2023

Ma Ba Tha in Myanmar: Contesting and Shaping Modern Buddhist Subjectivities with Matthew J Walton, University of Toronto | 28 March 2023

A Political Lexicon of Myanmar with Nick Cheesman, Australian National University | 10 February 2023

‘Peace’ as ‘peace for business and development’ or ‘peace’ as ‘an end to violence, oppression’ and ‘presence of justice’?: Understanding Karen people’ assertion of ‘genuine’ peace and peacebuilding process through the Salween Peace Park with Sheila Htoo, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University | 25 November 2022

Making Religion through Moral Practice in Colonial Burma: Intoxication, Women and Inter-religious Collaboration with Hitomi Fujimura, York Centre for Asian Research, York University | 28 October 2022

Discourses on Secularism and Burmese Anti-colonial Subjectivities with Htet Min Lwin, Religious Studies, York University | 14 October 2022

Real Change: Converting Politics in Myanmar with Michael Edwards, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge | 12 April 2022

Imagining an Overseas Chinese Community in Colonial Burma with Siew Han Yeo, Doctoral Candidate in History, University of Toronto | 7 April 2022

Women’s Participation and Visibility in the Anti-Military Online Movement in Myanmar with Isabella Aung, PhD Student, Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University | 15 March 2022

Exposing Enlightenment: The ‘Living Arahant’ in Photography and Print in Post-colonial Burma with Tony Scott, Department of the Study of Religion, University of Toronto | 01 March 2022

Awareness of Nationality and the Responsibility for Nation through the Christian Youth Networks: A Case Study of the Burmese Baptists in the 1900s with Hitomi Fujimura, Post Doctoral Fellow, York University | 02 February 2022

Objects of Religious Change in the Konbaung Kingdom, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies with Alexandra Kaloyanides, University of North Carolina Charlotte | 16 February 2022

Negotiating antifascist solidarity across ethnic difference in Myanmar: Bhamo Tin Aung’s Yoma Taikbwe with Stephen Campbell, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore | 15 December 2021

Geographies of Production and Reproduction: The Case of Myanmar Migrant Factory Workers in Thailand with Carli Melo, York University | 18 November 2021