Lost Ethnographies, and other musings

Here is a link to a book with a real original thought!  The Lost Ethnographies.  Most projects of course never get anywhere.  For example last month I wrote a brief blog about my trip to Yangon, and why I though it seemed like an interesting and engaging city.  I promised a follow-up blog about its … Continue reading Lost Ethnographies, and other musings

Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

Christina says I should write about my trip to Yangon (Myanmar/Burma) these last few days, as it is a city unfamiliar to the readers of Ethnography.com.  Her impressions, and those of our readers are probably in the context of the international news about Myanmar which focused last year on the Rohingya refugee crisis in which … Continue reading Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

The Fortunate Failure of ‘Voluntary Repatriation’ For Rohingya Refugees

Reposted from The Irrawaddy, February 11, 2019 By TONY WATERS  In 2017 and 2018, between 600,000 and 800,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar following attacks and clearance operations targeting their villages and coordinated by the Myanmar military. The result is the world’s largest refugee camp, Kutupalong, situated in a low-lying corner of Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh. The … Continue reading The Fortunate Failure of ‘Voluntary Repatriation’ For Rohingya Refugees

Who Influneces American Foreign Policy in Burma More?  James C. Scott or John Rambo?

James C. Scott is one of the major social science writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  His first book Moral Economy of the Peasant published in 1976, studied Vietnamese peasants, and how they resisted social change while being rooted in a different “moral economy.”  In subsequent decades he expanded his work to … Continue reading Who Influneces American Foreign Policy in Burma More?  James C. Scott or John Rambo?

Discipline and Modern Society: Something about Max Weber and Well-Paid Development Bureaucrats!

Hey, I published a book last October, Max Weber and the Problem of Modern Discipline. It is about Max Weber’s view of authority, and why so many of us obey.  What follows is a lightly edited version of the introductory chapter where I have a bit of fun comparing subsistence peasants to well-paid UN bureaucrats..  … Continue reading Discipline and Modern Society: Something about Max Weber and Well-Paid Development Bureaucrats!

Mon Mon Myat’s Articles in the Irrawaddy Times of Myanmar/Burma

I spent last semester in Chico, California, where occasionally the issue of Burma/Myanmar would come up. A number of people in Chico are well-enough read that they have familiarity with the issues there primarily through writing in the western press, particularly The New York Times.  The western press highlights the role of the Nobel Laureate … Continue reading Mon Mon Myat’s Articles in the Irrawaddy Times of Myanmar/Burma

When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

English speakers seemingly use the word Burma or Myanmar to describe that country.  My impression is that it is somewhat interchangeable.  If you use Burma instead of “Myanmar” it is some how ok—you just sound a bit old-fashioned, which is perhaps how the United States Embassy in "Burma" sounds to ears inside Myanmar.  On the … Continue reading When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

Quick Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees is Not a Durable Solution

I published the following last July in The Irrawaddy, an active publisher about current events in Myanmar, and publishes (and broadcasts) in Burmese, and English. One of my PhD students, Mon Mon Myat publishes there regularly in both languages and urged me to do submit the following article. The article is about the Rohingya refugee … Continue reading Quick Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees is Not a Durable Solution

Ethnography.com is reborn for 2019!

Well, it looks like Ethnography.com is going through a third or fourth re-design!  Christina Quigley is taking over the web-master duties and getting the blog ready for 2019!  This comes after a 1-2 year hiatus when little new content was posted.  This will hopefully change, as both Christina and I begin to post ethnographic observations … Continue reading Ethnography.com is reborn for 2019!

My Life as an Honored Potted Plant

Meetings are rituals, and rituals need symbols, and decorations, in other words potted plants.  I've been to a lot of meetings in my time as an academic where I sat bored and confused, but still clap on cue.  The most obvious place I am such a decoration is in May graduation ceremonies.  I sit in … Continue reading My Life as an Honored Potted Plant

Gallows Tale III: The Hanging Files of Tanganyika, and Are We Hanging the Right Man?

Quick capital trials were undertaken in the remote corners of Tanganyika Territory, even those places that did not have their own gallows. But  the sentence could only be carried out at one of the officially designated gaols where execution by hanging was carried out on a permanent or temporary gallows built and conducted to official … Continue reading Gallows Tale III: The Hanging Files of Tanganyika, and Are We Hanging the Right Man?

Gallows Tale II: The Hanging File of Tanganyika 1920-1928 and the Risk of Escape!

The risk of escape of a condemned prisoner who is required to undergo a long journey on foot [of 230 miles] to the place of execution must be considerable Britain had took control of German East Africa and renamed it Tanganyika Territory in 1920. This meant that the German justice system, which had been found … Continue reading Gallows Tale II: The Hanging File of Tanganyika 1920-1928 and the Risk of Escape!