Opaque and mysterious, once known as "The Land of a Thousand Pagodas," also called Myanmar, the country rarely intrudes upon western consciousness. Many may remember the heroism of Aung San Suu Kyi against a brutal military regime, and lament that the country has lapsed yet again into full military rule. Once the richest country in Asia, Burma/Myanmar is now poorer than Bangladesh and has been plagued by non-stop civil war and insurgency since it gained independence from the British in 1948.
Home to a dazzling number and variety of languages and peoples, Burma/Myanmar is a fascinating and vibrant country, still largely untouched by mass tourism. In this class, we will survey its history over the last hundred years (George Orwell was once a police officer there) and what -- in addition to temples -- a visitor might expect to see there.
David O’Hanlon, though born and raised in Melbourne, attended university in New Zealand. Though he first ventured forth into South East Asia to teach English in Malaysia, he ended up volunteering in a pro-democracy guerrilla camp on the Thai-Burma border. He later moved to Japan to teach English first in Tokyo, and subsequently in Thailand -- all while free-lancing as a journalist and also working as a research officer for a Human Rights organization. While there he met his French wife which eventually led to a move to France. David has since taught English in France in a variety of institutions including Sciences-Pô Paris, L’École de Guerre and l’ École des Ponts et Chaussées.
photo credit ©hakan nura
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