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SEASSI Lecture Series: Matthew Venker and Jennifer Otting

July 19, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

#what’shappeninginmyanmar: reflections on an ever-changing terrain

Original art by Moe Thandar Aung.

Matthew Venker
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Anthropology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer Otting
Doctoral Candidate
Education Policy Studies- International & Comparative Education
School of Education, University of Wisconsin- Madison

On February 1, 2021, citing electoral irregularities, the military of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar – the Tatmadaw – launched mass arrests of civilian political leaders, strangling the nation under yet another coup d’etat and dashing hopes for the country’s nascent democratization. Since then, scholars, pundits, and Myanmar watchers of various stripes around the world have argued over the causes, consequences, and correct responses the world should make in the wake of this resumption of state violence.

Informed through a combined four years of ethnographic research experience in Myanmar up to March 2020, in this exploratory update on an ever-changing situation we argue for the need to view the recent coup in Myanmar in light of broader histories of social, political, and legal violence. Drawing on digital observations and constant communication with colleagues in Myanmar, we seek to add nuanced insight on the forms of activism, political action, and ordinary life-making that have emerged as we draw near six months of life under military dictatorship. Beyond simple academic analysis at a distance, we further seek to explore the global connections that early scholars and language learners in the West share with those advancing democracy through daily struggle in Myanmar, and implore our audience to consider how we might stand in solidarity through both global and local actions.

Attendance is free and open to the public. No pre-registration required, join via Zoom here.


July 19, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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