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Talking Back to white* Researchers in Burma Studies (Conference Presentation)

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

We gave the presentation of our co-authored paper Talking Back to white Researchers in Burma Studies at the 20th International Graduate Student Conference at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa on Feb 12 2021. Our paper abstract was awarded the Outstanding Abstract award. Full paper is to be published soon.

Talking Back to white Researchers in Burma Studies

Chu May Paing & Than Toe Aung


This paper challenges the whiteness and ongoing epistemological colonization in the circles of Burma studies. We question the post-colonial narratives about Burma. As two native researchers born and raised in Burma and now being trained in Western academia (anthropology and sociology), we offer empirical examples of personal encounters with colonial research processes and theorize five specific colonial tropes in research that may extend beyond the Burma studies circles but in the studies of the Global South more broadly. With this paper, we call for the decolonization of Burma studies–to center the Burmese epistemology in research.

*We intentionally choose to de-capitalize the word "white" as a political stance against whiteness in academia and in social life.

Cite as: Chu May Paing, & Than Toe Aung. (2021). Talking Back to white Researchers in Burma Studies. Conference Presentation. International Graduate Student Conference. University of Hawai'i at Manoa. February 12.

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