Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Note about Names

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pp. ix-xii

In 1989 the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) officially changed the name of Burma to Myanmar. They declared that the new name for the nation was a more indigenous moniker that was less evocative of British colonial legacies. Scholars of Southeast Asia, however, explain that “Burma” is the Anglicized spelling...

Burmese Acronyms and Terminology

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Preface: Through a “Burmese Looking Glass”

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pp. xv-xx

When I was young, it seemed that most Americans had never heard of Burma. Outside a handful of U.S. veterans who had served in Southeast Asia during World War II, my American teachers and peers often assumed that Burma was part of communist China and did not understand how a country could fall outside of the predominant Cold War framework. Burma’s “absence” stemmed...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxviii

Maxine Hong Kingston writes in Woman Warrior, “How do you separate what is peculiar to childhood, to . . . one family, your mother who marked your growing with stories, from what is Chinese? What is Chinese tradition and what is the movies?”1 These questions highlight how our identities and perspectives are interwoven with the talk-stories of our ancestry, experience, and...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

Romancing Human Rights focuses on the representation of real and imagined Burmese women as authors, cultural mediators, and transnational practitioner-citizens—figures who migrate and translate across borders of culture and nation.1 This study of representations written by and about Burmese women in the twentieth century illustrates how gender is a currency exchanged...

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1. From Orwell to Rambo: Interracial Affiliations and Transnational Antagonisms in the Age of Human Rights

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pp. 10-24

This chapter surveys a range of Anglophone representations in order to highlight discursive patterns in how “Western eyes” have imagined Burma (cf. Chandra Talpade Mohanty). From George Orwell’s Burmese Days (1934) to Rambo (2008), Euro-American cultural productions have repeatedly portrayed Burma as a jungle. The bulk of popular media, literature, and...

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2. The Making of a Modern Burmese Wife: Gendering the Local and Possessive Investments in Masculinity in Ma Ma Lay’s Not Out of Hate

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pp. 25-51

To begin exploring Burmese perspectives on cross-cultural encounters, this chapter focuses on Not Out of Hate, the English translation of a novel written in the early years of Burmese postcoloniality by Journal Kyaw Ma Ma Lay (1917–1982), a prominent activist-author-publisher and now canonized woman...

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3. “Truth has a witness”: Postcolonial Adjudication, Interracial Passing, and Human Rights

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pp. 52-63

In this chapter I examine postcolonial adjudication by white women of the global North and the role that such interventions play in the circumscription of Burmese women. Analyzing two human-rights exposés, Inge Sargent’s memoir, Twilight over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess (1994), and the film Beyond Rangoon (1995), directed by John Boorman, this chapter problematizes...

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4. Performative Politics of Aung San Suu Kyi (or Papa’s Baby and Mama’s Maybe)

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pp. 64-91

In this chapter I will examine the iconic figuration of Aung San Suu Kyi, contrapuntally juxtaposing her writing and performativity alongside how Western and Burmese sources have read and inscribed her. Although various sources attribute Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal to an unwitting combination of birth...

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5. Wendy Law-Yone: Burmese Displacement and Co-occupancy in the United States

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pp. 92-107

Four decades after Ma Ma Lay’s Not Out of Hate, the work of diasporic author Wendy Law-Yone takes up Burmese women’s literary exploration of displacement, intimate labor, sex, and contact zones. Law-Yone is the first author of Burmese descent to write and publish fiction in English. To date, she has published two novels in the United States and one in England...

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6. Diaspora and Daughters

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pp. 108-118

To see Burma simply as a bizarre, exotic land that is not shaped by and implicated in Western dynamics obscures a critical understanding of globalization, the power relations of the past, and the competing agendas of the present. In this book I have offered a contrapuntal reading of Burmese in/visibility through narratives of interracial encounters between Burmese and...

Notes

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pp. 119-160

Bibliography

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pp. 161-176

Index

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pp. 177-184

About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

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