Please join us in PAS 2086 at 4:00pm for a talk by Prof. Elliott Prasse-Freeman (Department of Anthropology, National University of Singapore) entitled "Ambiguous Archives: Recording a Rohingya Ethnos in Flux". A short description appears below.
Ambiguous Archives: Recording a Rohingya ethnos in flux
How to preserve and protect key cultural features of an ethnos under threat of erasure when the contours of that ethnos are not well-known? This is the challenge facing the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim people from the western Myanmar state of Rakhine (Arakan). The Myanmar military-state has deployed direct and structural violence upon them since 1962 – persistent cultural repression interposed by episodes of ethnic cleansing – producing a context in which (1) Rohingya are impelled to assert and demonstrate their indigeneity to the racist and exclusionary Myanmar state even as (2) the Rohingya have had little opportunity to cultivate or know the features of their cultural diversity and collective history. This talk relays findings from fieldwork in Bangladesh camps, where an oral history project explores social structure, political economy, and migration patterns; it also conveys ethnography from Rohingya life in peri-urban Kuala Lumpur, illustrating how life in diaspora has inflected various expressions of Rohingya-ness.
Prof. Elliott Prasse-Freeman is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. His first book (Rights Refused, Stanford University Press) conveys how Burmese activists contest Myanmar's authoritarian military regime, while his second book explores Rohingya identity amidst dislocation and mass violence.