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Sunday, March 19 • 1:00pm - 1:50pm
Teaching the Boundary Paradox: The Troubled Legacy of British Imperialism in Burma/Myanmar

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The creation of colonial boundaries in Burma/Myanmar offers a fascinating example of the process European empires used in the 19th and 20th centuries to draw internationally recognized borders using a cartographic logic that ignored the complex ethnic makeup of the territories they were demarcating. In Myanmar, by applying hydrological principles with the idea that waters and watersheds divide, rather than unite, the British created arbitrary divisions among otherwise unitary peoples. With China's aid, they unwittingly unleashed a desire for reunification, producing secessionist movements that then justified decades of unimaginably ruthless military repression. This misguided application of the Western metaphysical concept of the boundary, parallel to colonialism elsewhere, has confined diverse ethno-linguistic groups involuntarily within a single nation state, sparking a half-century of brutal, possibly irresolvable conflict, manifest most recently, and tragically, in the growing violence against the Muslim Rohingya. The presentation will include a classroom activity and recommendations for student readings, including fiction.

avatar for Mary McCoy

Mary McCoy

Associate Faculty, Communication Arts/Outreach Coordinator, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
I coordinate outreach for the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and can assist teachers in bringing speakers and/or performers to school events and in incorporating exciting content related to Southeast Asian countries into K-12 curricula. Countries of Southeast Asia include: Indonesia... Read More →

Sunday March 19, 2017 1:00pm - 1:50pm

Attendees (2)