Abstracts by Author

Mandy Sadan

Volume 14
"Syphilis and the Kachin Regeneration Campaign, 1937–38" pp.115-149

This article discusses the introduction of a policy known as the Kachin Regeneration Campaign in the Kachin Hills from 1937 to 1938. Initiated by a belief that the Kachin people were on the verge of dying out because of an epidemic of syphilis, the campaign reveals much about the realities of Kachin dissociation from the late colonial regime, contrasting sharply with the conventional historical narrative of Kachin compliance with imperial control. A significant part of the Regeneration Campaign’s agenda was a less publicly acknowledged awareness that former Kachin soldiers were becoming a potentially volatile interest group and that there was increasing discontent across the Kachin Hills with regard to the administration, the military and the missions. The article uses the concept of a sick role to describe the approach of the Regeneration Campaign to Kachin society and discusses how the rhetoric of the campaign became embedded in the sermons of the local Christian missions, justifying changes to women’s roles and more recently impacting upon early responses to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.

Alan Saw U

Volume 9
"Professor U Pe Maung Tin: A Gentle Genius, a Meek Master" pp.35-41

U Pe Maung Tin’s accomplishments as a Burmese scholar are well-documented. Less so are his teachings and writings about Christianity and the Christian ministry in Burma. Alan Saw U, executive secretary and editor of the Myanmar Christian Literary Society, reflects on U Pe Maung Tin’s life as a leading figure in the Anglican Church in Burma.

Juliane Schober

Volume 6
"Venerating the Buddha's Remains in Burma: From Solitary Practice to the Cultural Hegemony of Communities" pp.111-139

The veneration of Buddha relics and images is a neglected, yet central organizing principle of Theravada culture and religious practice. My essay is informed by a historised understanding of Eliade's hierophany, a manifestation of a universal Buddhist sacred reality that defines and identifies cultural orders at the centers of local, historical contexts. I further rely on Bells' work on ritual and Gramsci's writings on hegemony to describe Burmese veneration of the Buddha's remains in diverse social and religious contexts. These range from the solitary practice, meditation and personal service in the Ananda mode to the Royal mode that defines social hierarchy in public rituals and expresses socio-religious aspirations of individuals and communities through culturally salient metaphors.

Donald M. Seekins

Volume 4
"The North Win and the Sun: Japan's Response to the Political Crisis in Burma, 1988–1998" pp.1-33

Japan's response to the political crisis in Burma after the establishment of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in September 1988 reflected the interests of powerful constituencies within the Japanese political system, especially business interests, to which were added other constituencies such as domestic supporters of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle for democracy and those who wished to pursue 'Sun Diplomacy,' using positive incentives to encourage democratization and economic reform. Policymakers in Tokyo, however, approached the Burma crisis seeking to take minimal risks–a "maximin strategy"–which limited their effect.

Peter Swift

Volume 21.1
The Burma Democratic Front: How the Eighty-Eight Generation Chin were Mobilized into the Chin National Front

On September 18, 1988 a military takeover ended the nation-wide pro-democracy uprising in Myanmar. A common narrative is that after the coup, on the one hand students and others involved in the uprising fled to border areas to escape arrest, and that on the other hand they hoped to continue their struggle through armed means and were drawn by reports of assistance to armed resistance coming from other countries. In presenting the history of the little-known Burma Democratic Front, which was based in Champhai in northeast India and provided recruits early on for the Chin National Front, I demonstrate that this narrative is inadequate in three main ways. First, while some of those who joined the Chin armed resistance fled to escape arrest, the security situation varied between different places and fear of arrest was not the main determinant for many of them in the decision to leave Myanmar. Leaving Myanmar to India was also sometimes not the only option for those fearing arrest. Second, many of those who ended up in the Chin armed resistance went to India to find work or for other reasons unrelated to armed struggle. Third, relationships with others (based on kinship or participation together in university student groups or high-risk activism), and/or active recruitment by others (sometimes previously known to the individual being recruited, sometimes not), were often extremely important for the decision to go to India or join the armed resistance.

Return to Abstracts