The University of Iowa

Protests, Military Coup, and Burma's Future

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Featuring Maxime Boutry, Associate Researcher, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France

The double crisis, political and sanitary, that Myanmar is currently undergoing, sheds new light on the political and social transformations that have affected the country over the last ten years. Whilst the February 1st military coup literally kidnapped the hopes of a whole generation of citizens thirsting for democracy, it also revealed a failed transition, where the ghosts of decolonization continue to haunt any effort at nation building. Based on fieldwork among “ordinary citizens” in Myanmar as well as discourses in social and news media, Boutry will discuss diverse notions such as "legitimacy", “clientelism” or "federalism", and how their different understandings may reveal the underlying causes of the current crisis. Finally, although the current period is definitely a dark episode, Boutry will explore some possible positive outcomes.

Maxime Boutry obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology in 2007 and has been since then living in Myanmar. His scholarly interests revolve around forms of continuity in the sociocultural changes affecting Burmese society through the study of “frontiers” (borderlands, transition spaces, interstices). Maxime is an associate researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE - CNRS) and the laboratory on “Local heritage, environment and globalization” (PALOC – IRD/MNHN). He also works for several NGOs particularly in the field of land tenure security. His publications include “The backdoors of resistance. Identities in the Malay Peninsula’s maritime borderlands”, in A. Horstmann, M. Saxer and A. Rippa (eds), Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands (2018), and “How far from national identity? Dealing with the concealed diversity of Myanmar”, in Robinne, F. and Egreteau, R. (Eds.), Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in Myanmar (2015).

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Sponsored by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies

Co-sponsored by UI International Programs, Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, UI Department of Anthropology and UI Department of Political Science in collaboration with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the UI Department of Religious Studies

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Sarolta Petersen in advance at 319-335-3862 or