Peace Studies researcher Elise Boulding wrote that peace, including the type sought today in Myanmar, is focused by a “two hundred year present.” By this she meant that how people think about their values, fears, loyalties and dreams is inherited from the memories of parents and grandparents who recall the emotional events they heard about … Continue reading Ghosts Look Over the Shoulders of Myanmar Peace Negotiators
– By Sarah Huxley – The joys and pains of ethnography, as many an ethnographer might tell you, focus on the immersive, and experiential conundrums that ‘real life’ invariably spits up. That’s not to say that there is no/ little preparation, but rather to say that the very nature of the ethnographic methodology, that is– … Continue reading One (dis)placed ethnographer’s movements during the pandemic: Is the on-line world a lesser ethnographic world?
– by Anders Norge Lauridsen – Why are we stopping? The shadows are growing longer and the twilight is near, but we still have a long way home to the village of Anororo ahead of us. A man at a run from the other tractor several ridges behind us catches up with our tractor and … Continue reading The Fear of Dahalo Bandits on a Drive Through the Alaotra Night (Madagascar)
– by Valerie Miller – Returning is a problematic word for anthropologists. To turn is to go around, go another direction, move to a different position. But REturning would then mean to stay right where you are (by turning again), realizing the full circle. It is movement from A to B to A, movement from … Continue reading Returning
With the Ethnography.com website's updated 'modern' look and my 'mysterious' long-term disappearance from America, you may be wondering about the site's header photos, and what the heck is going on over here? Maybe call this 'flash ethnography' mixed with ethnographic photography. Here are five short stories... ^ THIS IS THE CHURCH COURTYARD at the ethnographer's … Continue reading What does a Chicken, Drums, Whiskey, Gossip, and International Diplomacy have in common?
Miss Burma (2017) by Charmaine Craig is a historical novel that tells the story of Burma from the perspective of a Karen family that was part of Rangoon’s elite after World War II. The book describes the Karen perspective on mid-20th-century wars in Burma, beginning with the Japanese invasion in 1942 and continuing today. Resonating particularly … Continue reading Reading Myanmar—‘Miss Burma’ and the Liberal Conscience
Colonial Burma has a strange hold on the Anglo-American imagination—it is a remote and exotic place where the British were not very successful in holding sway. British authority was routinely challenged by people in the forests of Burma who, the British felt, did not understand the beneficent “reason” inherent to their colonial project. From a British … Continue reading Batman’s Butler Alfred Philosophizes about Colonial Violence in British Burma
The Joint Peace Fund, the group sponsoring the 2015 Ceasefire in Myanmar, sponsored a reception on International Peace Day at the Chatrium Hotel in September 2019. I was there because like much of Yangon’s NGO world, I know that the Joint Peace Fund administers a huge pot of foreign aid that funds the “peace process”. … Continue reading The Elephants, the Peace Process, and the Blindmen in a Myanmar Hotel Ballroom
Published August 29, 2019 in The Irrawaddy of Yangon, Myanmar. By TONY WATERS The International Donors are meeting frequently to discuss the 1 million Rohingya refugees sitting in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazaar. The strange assertion that “the refugees will go home to Rakhine soon voluntarily because we have a plan” is again being recycled; … Continue reading Insistence on Voluntary Rohingya Repatriation to Myanmar Lacks ‘Moral Imagination’
What is Ethnography? Often, people do not understand my work as an ‘ethnographer.’ Perhaps, they assume I am creating a life of luxury for myself and just sitting somewhere. Or, they will ask me, are you a writer for the news? Then I reply, no, I am not that kind of writer. Often, those kinds … Continue reading What is Ethnography? Ethnografia ni nini?
The writings of an important Thai writer & journalist are just beginning to surface in the English language. I feel confident enough to say that I am the first anthropologist & ethnographer indebted to 'Rong Wongsawan, because my mentor Dr. Tony Waters is conducting this translation work, with the help of his Thai students, and … Continue reading The New Face of Ethnography, from Tanzania to Thailand
Since returning to Kigoma, Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in central Africa for my Fulbright research, I have been looking for two of my Congolese friends. I was told that they crossed the Lake, and returned to two of the cities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to live– to be together with … Continue reading Rumba is good, even through war, through Ebola