Together with cartoonists, writers, song writers, exiles, and protesters in Myanmar, we will examine various forms of cultural production of dissent. Some of the planned activities include:
- To foster dialogue and exchange of ideas between artists and writers so as to challenge the notion of dissent—some of the thematic discussions include why it is cultural and religious rather than political for some minorities, why and how certain words and concepts such as ‘prison’ have been re-imagined and popularized by writers and artists, how certain censored works (for instance, short stories on sterilization) depict the gendered understandings of human bodies, medicine, and religion.
- To collaborate with different groups (writers, poets and cartoonists) to have a series of banned books. For example, Myanmar in the 1980s through censored cartoons, Myanmar in the 1970s through censored poems, etc. These series will pave the way to write the history of Myanmar from below.
- To help revive the civic role for Myanmar Universities starting with Mandalay University and Yangon University of Distance Education so that the latter will be able to develop their own curricula that engage communities in which they are located and curricula that reflect the diverse student bodies they serve.
- To produce comparative studies on cultural production of dissent particularly with African Universities such as Gaston Berger University in Senegal. This will pave new approaches to area studies extending or breaking boundaries of disciplines and area studies that can potentially usher in new arguments and understandings for not only dissent studies but also colonialism and modernity(ies).
Research Team: Tharaphi Than