A simple idea: Hold thematic workshops, which would be open, and then publish the best of the proceedings as a physical and digital journal in Burmese as well as in English”


Since 2014, several workshops have been held and more are planned (see below). Two workshops have already resulted in published issues of the Independent Journal of Burmese Scholarship, and papers from a third will comprise the forthcoming issue. Since the terrain of possibilities is constantly changing and because there is as yet no new media law guaranteeing freedom of expression, we remain alert to need to adapt to the openings afforded us.

Scheduled or Completed Workshops

Workshop #1
Public Memory — vlxk trSwf onm (Luu Htu Ahmart Thin Nya)
July and December 2014
Organizer: Tun Myint, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton College

Workshop #2
Multidisciplinary Studies and Perspectives on Poverty in Myanmar
August 22–23, 2014 
Organizer: Ardeth Thawnghmung, Professor, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Workshop #3
Memoirs of the Military Elite: Construction of History and Shared-Perception 
April 2015
Organizer: Min Zin, University of California, Berkeley

Workshop #4
Religious and Cultural Inclusion and Exclusion in Myanmar History
12–14 December 2018
Venue: Chiang Mai University

Workshop #5
Feminism in Myanmar
20 December 2018
Venue: Yangon

Workshop #6
Feminism and Marginality in Myanmar
26–28 September 2019
Venue: Dawei

Purpose and mission

The thematic workshops in Burma and the journal that emerges from each of them represent our central activity. We hope to assemble groups of scholars from all over Burma, including its ethnic peripheries, whom the conveners of the theme will bring together for a few days of intensive exchange of papers and views. We regard the community-forming process of identifying the wide range of invitees, the exchanges at the workshop, and the editorial meetings as at least as important as the mere fact of holding a workshop and publishing a journal.

(The primary language of the workshops and the journal will be Burmese, though we shall endeavor to invite submissions in minority languages as well as in English that will be translated into Burmese.)

Editorial meetings will follow as the journal is assembled. The implicit agenda of each of these workshops and thematic journals is to coalesce the nucleus of young scholar-activists who will continue to meet, debate, and write, and perhaps form an independent group of their own (with their own journal!). We aim, then, for the workshops and journal to be catalysts for scholarly community-making more than an end in itself.

Workshop structure

We estimate that each of workshop will have about 35 participants from all over Burma and that they will meet for a full three days. Those invited will bring draft papers on an aspect of the theme which they will share with their colleagues with the explicit purpose of collectively improving their exposition, argument, evidence, and the assumptions underpinning them.

The success of these workshops depends less on the quality of the work brought to them than on the degree of improvement resulting from the exchanges and subsequent editorial work. The quality of the workshop leadership, the satisfaction of the participants, and the growth of formal and informal long-lasting intellectual ties after the workshop will also be a measure of success.