Co-sponsored by the Southeast Asia Program, Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan
Shocking events obliterate context. The coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021 is a case in point. Who could imagine the cruelty of the Burmese generals who on February 1st 2021 grabbed power and proceeded to retain it by arresting thousands and murdering hundreds of its local opponents? Who expected that on February 2nd the country’s youth would launch a nonviolent Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and keep it going and growing against such massively intimidating odds? In this webinar, two experts will provide the essential but all too often missing contexts—current and historical, domestic and foreign, political and socioeconomic—within which the crisis can be understood, its future projected, and its implications assessed. To those ends, the on-the-ground knowledge, personal experience, and close observer’s insights of Burmese scholar Moe Thuzar will interact with the insights of American professor David Steinberg based on his Burmese experiences and scholarship dating back into the 20th century.
The webinar will consider in particular what the coup and its aftermath may imply for Southeast Asia and its relations with China. Relevant in that regard is the involvement of all four panel members in a recent collection, The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century—Steinberg and Ciorciari as authors, Emmerson as editor, and Thuzar as an analyst who is using the book in her own research.
David I. Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies Emeritus, Georgetown University, where he directed its Asian studies program (1997-2007). Other positions he has held include the presidency of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs and Southeast Asia-related US foreign-policy posts as a member of the Senior Foreign Service. He has also represented The Asia Foundation in South Korea, Burma, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C. His 15 books and monographs include one translation, more than 150 articles, and several hundred op-eds.. Among these books are: Myanmar: The Dynamics of an Evolving Polity (ed., 2015); Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know (2013, 2nd edition); Modern China-Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence (with Fan Hongwei, 2012); Turmoil in Burma: Contested Legitimacies in Myanmar (2006); Burma: The State of Myanmar (2001); and Burma’s Road to Development (1981). His expertise includes the two Koreas, about which he has written widely. Professor Steinberg was educated at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Harvard University, Darmouth College, and Lingnan University in Canton (now Guangzhou), China.
Moe Thuzar joined the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore in 2008. Her responsibilities there have included managing or co-managing its Myanmar Studies Programme, serving as a lead researcher in its ASEAN Studies Centre, and helping the Centre engage with Myanmar regarding its turn to chair ASEAN in 2014. She spent the 2019-2020 academic year as a Fox International Fellow at Yale University's MacMillan Center researching the socio-cultural underpinnings of Burma’s Cold War foreign policy for her National University of Singapore PhD. Earlier she worked for a decade at the ASEAN Secretariat, where she headed its Human Development Unit. Her many publications include, as co-author, the 2020 and 2019 editions of ISEAS’s widely read State of Southeast Asia: Survey Report. Other recent writing includes chapters and articles in ASEAN-EU Partnerships: The Untold Story (ed., 2020); the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies (2019); Southeast Asian Affairs (ed., 2019); Human Security Norms in East Asia (ed., 2019); and, as co-author, ASEAN’s Myanmar Dilemma (with Lex Rieffel, 2018). Earlier works include Myanmar: Life After Nargis (with Pavin Chachavalpongpun, 2009).
Co-moderated by John Ciorciari, Director, Weiser Diplomacy Center, University of Michigan, and Donald K. Emmerson, Director, Southeast Asia Program, Stanford University