Special seminar on SEA history (Nov 18, Friday)

You are cordially invited to a special seminar on Southeast Asian history focusing on Prince Myngun of Burma (1844-1921) by Prof. Penny Edwards, University of California, Berkeley. The seminar is held in English and in person.

Date&Time: November 18, 2022, Friday, 15:30-17:00
Venue: Tonantei (Room 201), 2F, Inamori Foundation Building, Kyoto University
Speaker: Prof. Penny Edwards (University of California, Berkeley)

Title: History gone rogue: Journeys with an unreliable narrator

The triple exile of Prince Myngun of Burma (1844-1921) and his trespass of national boundaries and colonial empires places his story in an archival blind spot. His story does not belong in the hall of fame
shared by his uncle, the Kanaung Prince – revered by the Burmese Military Government, or Tatmadaw, as a reformer and pro-military – or of rebels such as Saya San, who are lionized as anti-colonial, nationalist
heroes. In school textbooks and national museums since 1962, Myanmar’s military rulers have created a cult of martyrdom around Myngun’s uncle, the Kanaung Prince, regilding his monuments with the same cosmetic fervor they have applied to the Shwedagon Pagoda. In this official narrative, Myngun is a traitor who assassinated a champion of military reform. To those who have grown up with these histories, and their screen version, Myngun is a ‘bad fellow,’ a ‘murderer’, even a ‘stooge of the British.’
But military rule has taught most in Burma to question the official line, and other stories of Myngun persist, reverberating in song, in oral history. A letter from Prince Myngun in the Cambodian National
Archives in Phnom Penh in 2004; a conversation with the late Princess Hteiksu Phaya-Gyi in Yangon in  2017, and a mothballed shirt in a military museum, all figure in this  history of wildly divergent scales.
In this informal talk about her forthcoming book, Kingdoms of the Mind: Burma’s fugitive prince and the fracturing of empire (Columbia University Press, forthcoming) Penny Edwards, Professor of Southeast
Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley shares research strategies, her experiments with genre and her thoughts on history as an unreliable narrator.

About the speaker:
Penny Edwards is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her award-winning scholarship is grounded in thirty years of research in Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, and China and has made critical interventions in the study of nationalism, gender, and comparative colonialism. The recipient of the 2009 Harry J. Benda Prize for her book, Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation (Hawai’i University Press, 2007), she has authored thirty articles on Southeast Asian history and literature and has co-edited and guest edited eight volumes and special journal issues ranging from contemporary writing from Burma/Myanmar (Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writings, 34, 2, Winter 2022) to memory in Southeast Asia (Kyoto Review of South East Asia, 2016) and Sino Cambodian migrations  (Cross Currents: Journal of East Asian History and Culture, Fall 2012).  Her translation of Soth
Polin’s novella L’anarchiste will appear with Gazebo Books, Sydney, in 2023.

Contact: Satoru Kobayashi (kobasa[at]