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Presented By: Center for Southeast Asian Studies

CSEAS Lecture Series. Racial Capitalism and Interspecies Empire in Colonial Myanmar

Jonathan Saha, Associate Professor of South Asian History, Department of History, University of Durham

Under British rule in Myanmar, colonized people’s relationships with animals changed. Increasingly, animals were commoditized. Some creatures, such as elephants and oxen, became vital resources for the colony’s globally-important rice and teak industries. At the same time as these shifts were occurring, Burmese conceptions of human difference were undergoing significant changes themselves. Notions of race became more prominent in politics and culture, especially during the interwar years. These processes—the commoditization of animals and the racialization of human difference—were not only coincident with one another, they were connected. In this talk I will uncover some of these connections and their wider import for the history of modern imperialism in Southeast Asia.

Jonathan Saha is an Associate Professor of South Asian History. He serves as faculty with the Department of History at the University of Durham.

Free and open to the public; register at

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April 1, 2022 (Friday) 12:00pm

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