Abstracts by Author

Anna Allott

Volume 1
"Half a Century of Publishing in Mandalay" pp. 83-106

The Ludu Kyi-bwa-yay Press was established in Mandalay as a radical left-wing publishing house by Ludu U Hla and his wife, Daw Amar, in 1938. Ludu U Hla was a pioneering Burmese journalist, would-be social reformer, social historian, and, most of all, recorder of folk-tales. Daw Amar began her writing career in 1938 as a translator, mostly of anti-Western works; in 1964 she began a series of major works dealing with Burmese traditional performing arts and the history and culture of Upper Burma and of Mandalay. U Hla died in 1982, and in March 1984 much of the press was destroyed in the great Mandalay fire. Nevertheless, the press resumed publishing in 1987 under the direction of Daw Amar and despite continued strict government censorship has remained in operation until the present. The latest book in Ludu U Hla's folktale series appeared posthumously in 1996. This article is followed by a translation of a short biography of Ludu U Hla written by Daw Amar.

Volume 9
"Professor U Pe Maung Tin (1888–1973): The Life and Work of an Outstanding Burmese Scholar" pp.7-10

In 1998, Daw Tin Tin Myaing (Brenda Stanley), the youngest daughter of the late Burmese scholar U Pe Maung Tin, organized a symposium at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies to honor the achievements of her father. U Pe Maung Tin grew up as a Christian, but mastered Pali, the language of Buddhism, early in his career. This led him to become one of the world’s leading translators of Pali texts into English and interpreter of Buddhist doctrine to Western scholars. This article by guest editor and former student Anna Allott outlines U Pe Maung Tin’s life and work as a Pali scholar, lifelong student and promoter of the Burmese language, historian, linguist, phonetician, teacher, and editor.

Maitrii Aung-Thwin

Volume 14
"Healing, Rebellion, and the Law: Ethnologies of Medicine in Colonial Burma, 1928–1932"pp.151-185

Asia’s encounter with Western medicine and the emergence of public health regimes might be regarded as one chapter within the larger framework of colonialism and its discursive practices. Medicine contributed to the ordering of colonized Asia by providing particular vocabularies and frameworks through which cultures and communities could be identified, categorized, and transformed into accessible knowledge. Notions of the body, race, cleanliness, sickness, “the patient” and healing were continuously shaped and negotiated within the context of this encounter, involving sites of healing, communities, and a wide range of socio-political contexts. This study considers the way in which “indigenous medicine” was delineated by two instruments of the colonial administration in British Burma: a committee appointed to integrate the study of local practices into the educational system and a special tribunal, which was formed to process detainees in the wake of one of the largest rebellions in colonial Burma’s history. It suggests that the shadow of Burma’s administrative connection to India might have corresponded to the manner in which healing culture was conceptualized. Due to changing political circumstances surrounding the question of Burma’s separation from India, the image of traditional medicine shifted to represent a distinct form of Burmese criminality and resistance.

L.E. Bagshawe

Volume 3
"Kingship in Pagan Wundauk U Tin's ‘Myan-Ma-Minok-Chok-Pon-Sa-Din" pp.77-91

This paper analyzes the attitudes toward kingship expressed in the Myan-ma-Mn Ok-cjok-pon Sa-dnn’ ["The Royal Administration of Burma"], written by Pagan U Tin (1861-1933) and first published shortly after the author's death. Following a brief biographical account of Pagan U Tin, the discussion considers four perspectives on Burmese kingship appearing in the work: 1) the king as judge; 2) the king as guarantor of regularity; 3) the king as descendant of the Sun (and of Mahasammata, originator of civil society); and 4) the king as Buddha-to-be. The Burmese monarch was predominantly a symbolic figure who affirmed the kingdom's past and guaranteed its future. Although U Tin reports on the questionable morality of Kings Mindon and Thibaw, he nevertheless addresses both as "Excellent King" and admonishes his readers against offending the dignity of the throne.

Denise Bernot

Volume 9
"U Pe Maung Tin — Researcher, Scholar, Pedagogue: His Contribution to Burmese Studies in France" pp.42-51

U Pe Maung Tin possessed, by nature, all of the qualities of an erudite researcher: he was always ready to learn more; constantly trying to deepen his understanding; frequently opening a new line of inquiry; and in his work, at once rigorous and bold. U Pe Maung Tin never allowed himself to become a prisoner of tradition, though he knew perfectly the traditions of his own country and masterfully assimilated those of Great Britain. Convention never obstructed him from stating a scientific truth or doing the morally right thing. For those reasons, he left behind a legacy of lasting valuable research.

Ian Brown

Volume 14
"Death and Disease in the Prisons of Colonial Burma"pp. 1-20

Over the half-century from 1890 to 1940, the death rate in Burma’s prisons was cut by more than half. This article first seeks to explain that reduction by examining the shifting incidence of the main diseases found in the province’s jails in this period-dysentery and diarrhea, smallpox, cholera, plague, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis-and the measures taken by the prison administration to contain them. It then critically examines the argument advanced in the 1920s, for example, that a prolonged term in a Burmese prison was likely to improve the inmate’s physical condition-that he would generally leave prison fitter, heavier and in better health. Finally, the article seeks to explain why the incidence of disease and the rate of mortality among the inmate population were apparently of such concern to the prison administration of colonial Burma.