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Heritage-making and post-coloniality in Yangon, Myanmar


Roberts, JL, Heritage-making and post-coloniality in Yangon, Myanmar, Citizens, Civil Society and Heritage-making in Asia, ISEAS Publishing, HHM Hsiao, H Yew-Foong, P Peycam (ed), Singapore, pp. 40-. ISBN 978-981-4786-15-7 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

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In a nation where the post-independence, military-led governments saw their people as potential enemies who threatened the territorial integrity of Myanmar,' heritage-making has been deployed as an exclusive technique of the state to manufacture a unitary national identity. That identity has been Burman (the dominant ethnic group), Buddhist, and, until recently, staunchly anti-colonial, with the Shwedagon Pagoda standing as its ultimate monument. Since 2012, educated elite in Yangon have begun to rewrite the narrative of colonial oppression to incorporate the modernity implanted through British rule as represented by the grand facades of institutions such as Grindlays Bank and the Secretariat. This foregrounding of aesthetic modernity has been spearheaded by Thant Myint-U (grandson of U Thant, the third UN secretary-general), who has returned to Myanmar from a cosmopolitan life in the West. With the assistance of foreign-educated Myanmar architects, Thant has founded the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) to safeguard the physical and aesthetic integrity of colonial-era buildings. In the words of Thant, "If we can make Yangon the most attractive, beautiful and liveable city in Southeast Asia, this is an asset worth billions of dollars" (Linthicum 2014).

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Mynmar, Post-coloniality
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Roberts, JL (Dr Jayde Roberts)
ID Code:121454
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-09-29
Last Modified:2018-05-07

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