Discoveries in Leeds Discovery Centre

This is the second year that I am teaching my module on the history of animals in colonial Asia. For this year’s class, I thought that it would be fun to see what local resources there might be in Leeds on the topic, and so my students and I took a trip to the Leeds…

Learning Burmese, Colonial Style

I have recently begun working my way through a book designed to teach English speakers written Burmese. But unlike the textbooks that I have previously used, this one is a little dated. It was published in 1894 and was written by Richard Fleming St. Andrew St. John, an English Orientalist, colonial official and translator of…

Decolonizing the Classroom

Last week I attended the “Postcolonial Education” symposium, co-organized by Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds and the Northern Postcolonial Network. The day brought together early career researchers, poets, community educators and established academics to think critically about teaching, learning and schooling. It was exactly what I needed as the end of term nears:…

A Beastly Bibliography

Over the last year I’ve been compiling an annotated bibliography. Originally I maintained it as a memory aid for my writing and in September I reworked it for my students. I’m now sharing it on this blog for anyone interested in the colonial history of animals: ‘Beastly Bibliography’. Recommendations for additional readings are encouraged! Hope…

Rebellion in Burma, Indian Nationalism and the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd.

This week I visited the London Metropolitan Archives to consult the records of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, Ltd. From the late-nineteenth century, this company was the biggest and most influential timber company operating out of Burma.  Throughout the colonial period and into the mid-twentieth century, Burma was widely recognised as the world’s principal source…

Assessing Foucault

This year most of my third year students’ exam answers on crime in colonial South and Southeast Asia showed a sophisticated understanding of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. They demonstrated a knowledge of the underlying logics of disciplinary power that Foucault excavated, and some were also aware of the difficulties of mapping these onto a colonial…

Amok in Malaya, Murder in Burma

One of the great things about teaching is they way it can raise new research questions. This recently happened on my undergraduate unit in which I teach the history of crime in colonial South and Southeast Asia. We were discussing British representations of amok. This was where in an apparent fit of madness, often said to be brought on by a…

Researching Colonial Burma on the Internet

I recently wrote a blog on my experiences using the National Archive of Myanmar for Exeter University’s Global and Imperial History blog. It got me thinking about how much of my research I now conduct online via digitized archives. So, on this post I’m going to flag up some useful places on the internet for…

Gendered Responses to the History of Southeast Asia

Last week I taught the final class of an ambitious unit covering the history of Southeast Asia from c.990 to c.1990. The last class is designed to get everyone debating the impact of Western imperialism on the region. We discussed the material changes engendered by it, the shifts in Southeast Asian cultures and societies, and…

Teaching the F-Word (Foucault that is…)

Taught my favourite class this week: a fun-packed two hours introducing students to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish with the aid of the torture scene from Braveheart (sovereign power), the chilling footage of prison dance routines in the Philippines (docile bodies), and Bunny Colvin’s speech in The Wire about ‘brown paper bags’ (delinquency). Took me ages…