Transforming Memory: Community Recollections of Inter-Religious Peace and Conflict in Myanmar

Myanmar riots

Transforming Memory: Community Recollections of Inter-Religious Peace and Conflict in Myanmar

Wednesday, 1 March 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Deakin Room
Phyu Phyu Thi (Myanmar ICT for Development), Matthew J Walton (St Antony’s)
Southeast Asia Seminar

Research and training conducted by the Myanmar Media and Society (M.MAS) project in 2015 encountered persistent expressions of fear and antagonism directed towards religious Others as well as articulated memories of solidarity and peace. People would often seek to reconcile the contradiction between these memories and contemporary narratives that demonize religious Others. Our research suggests that these attempts at reconciling contradiction can make important contributions to peace. This paper will draw on oral history research conducted throughout 2016 in six cities in Myanmar among populations of different faiths that seeks to uncover people’s memories of inter-religious peaceful co-existence.

Phyu Phyu Thi is co-founder, research and development manager of MIDO (, a Myanmar local organization focusing on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) and Internet Policy. She holds master’s degrees in Sustainable Development from the Chiangmai University, Faculty of Social Sciences in Thailand and bachelor’s degree in Science from Yangon University. Her interests include technology and development, social media, diffusion of information and behaviour, communal violence and peace.  

Matthew J Walton is the Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antony’s College. He has published articles on Buddhism, ethnicity, and politics in Myanmar and his analysis of Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar (co-authored with Susan Hayward), Contesting Buddhist Narratives: Democratization, Nationalism, and Communal Violence in Myanmar, was published in 2014 in the East-West Center Policy Studies series. His next project is a comparative study of Buddhist political thought across the Theravada world. Matt is one of the co-founders of the Myanmar Media and Society project and of the Oxford-based Burma/Myanmar blog Tea Circle.