SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H453 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (II)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

This course examines the negotiation of modern Burma from end of the First Anglo-Burmese War to the outbreak of the Second World War. At the core of this examination is how Burmese and the British reacted to each other’s efforts to establish the boundaries of Burma and Burmese-ness during the British colonial rule. The boundaries referred to relate to ethnicity, religious identity, history, material and intellectual culture, medical traditions, gender, language, technology, political culture, etc. 

The course will examine, through careful readings of indigenous (translated) and colonial primary documents, often juxtaposed against each other, the process of negotiating space, tradition, and identity. Ultimately, this process created the foundations of “modern Burma” as we understand it today.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Students will take this course in conjunction with The Creation of Modern Burma, 1852-c. 1941 I

At the end of the course, students should have developed independent skills in the selection and use of primary sources in order to make an original argument, supported by primary evidence, in the form of a ten thousand word “special Subject long essay.”

Method of assessment

A 10,000 word “long essay” to be submitted by the first day of term 3, comprising 100% of the total mark.

Suggested reading

  • Albert Fytche. Narrative of the Mission to Mandalay in 1867. [Lecturer will supply]
  • American Baptist Missionary Magazine, 19th century [relevant letters, accounts will be supplied by lecturer].
  • Bengal Political Consultations. [India Office Material, each student will have access to a copy of that material]
  • Horace A. Browne, Reminscences of the Court at Mandalay: Extracts from the Diary of General Horace A. Browne, 1859-1879. [SOAS Library has].
  • Burma Law Reports [2 large volumes and 2 multi-volumes of Burmese court cases, covering the 1879-1929 period, in private collection; lecturer will make copies of relevant cases available to each student].
  • Burma Legislative Council Proceedings [SOAS Library has a copy of the relevant volumes]
  • John Crawfurd, Journal on an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in the Year 1827 [included in the SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, available online].
  • Kirkman Finlay, “An Account of a Journal From Rangoon,” 1879. [Lecturer will supply; duplicate in SOAS special collections].
  • Geary Grattan. Burma, After the Conquest. 1886.
  • The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma [English translation of part of Hmannan]. 1923.


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