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Burma in the World/Burma and the World: Celebrating the Career of Michael Adas - Sponsored by the Burma Studies Group

Sat, April 2, 8:30 to 10:30am, Washington State Convention Center, 3rd Floor, Room 303

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel

Abstract

Michael Adas’ career began with an innovative study of Burma’s colonial economy (The Burma Delta); followed by comparative research putting Burma’s Saya San millenarian revolt into a comparative conversation with uprisings in Africa and other parts of Asia (Prophets of Rebellion); before publishing a classic in the field of World History (Machines as the Measure of Men). To celebrate the transitions that mark Adas’ lauded career, our panel will address a parallel question: How can we incorporate Burma/Myanmar into research that is more regionally comparative, trans-national, and/or world historical through research that considers non-state peoples, borderlands, and networks of exchange that map across state boundaries? Michael Adas will discuss his career trajectory from Burma specialist to World Historian. Drawing from his deep knowledge of both fields, Adas will reposition Burma as a major player in global history. Nile Green will link Burma’s history to Indian Ocean networks of human movement and religious exchange using Urdu language sources to uncover histories of Buddhist-Muslim interactions. Non-state people have histories that challenge nation-state frameworks. Mandy Sadan, a specialist on Burma’s upland peoples, will discuss “borderlands” perspectives on Burmese history that re-center the importance of upland regions. Similarly, Patrick McCormick will discuss trans-national challenges to writing of Mon history, an ethnic group with deep historical roots in Burma and Thailand. We believe the recent turn by Myanmar to re-engage with the world community inspires a parallel challenge to comprehend Burma through research that is global in its vision and aspiration.

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