Anthro Job Talk: Seinenu Thein-Lemelson (VIRTUAL)

The Burmese democracy movement and the community of political prisoners (known colloquially as naingkyin) that comprised it had a profound impact upon the trajectory of modern Burma, yet their contributions have been overlooked by scholars. What little scholarship exists on the democracy movement ignores the naingkyin’s culture, psychology, and subjectivity. There are no accounts of Burma written from the naingkyin’s point of view and few accounts that represent them as complex, whole, reflexive human beings embedded in an equally complex, whole, reflexive community. In this talk, I move past the dominant transnational discourses that have been used to analyze the Burmese democracy movement—that of human rights, humanitarianism, neoliberalism and the public health model of trauma. Instead, I focus on an indigenous concept known as anitnah, which resembles the English term of “sacrifice…”