On 23 December 2021, FORSEA Dialogue on Democratic Struggles across Asia hosted a bilingual discussion, “Experts in Myanmar Affairs: Usurping Local Voices and Doing Harm”, with three Burmese of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
(The English language discussion begins at 01:22:21 at FORSEA YouTube).
We received excellent feedback from the viewers as the pre-Christmas dialogue confronted a universal phenomenon of international/foreign experts usurping local voices and leeching on the misery of what the revolutionary thinker Franz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth; that is, the non-European societies and peoples subjected to multiple forms of cultural and intellectual domination for the last several centuries.
Our dialogue series will expand and incorporate a crucial theme of intellectual de-colonisation of the young minds of Asia, inspired by revolutionary thinkers from “Black America”, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and India or the so-called Global South.
Chu May Paing
Born and rasied in Yangon, Chu May Paing is currently pursuing a PhD in cultural and linguistic anthropology at University of Colorado Boulder. To her, academic research means working alongside, not above, the community members. Beyond her doctoral research on public sensorial imaginaries in digital-activist movements, she is the founder and director of ARUNA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting systematically excluded scholars and thinkers working in, on, and from the Asian Global South and producing experimental modes of scholarship. She also writes in Burmese under the pen name Ma Chinthe.
Banner Image: Igorot boy and man 9 years later, Bontoc, Philippines, early 20th Century before 1914. Illustration picture from the book: The Philippines, Past and Present. Dean C. Worcester. Published 1914 by Mills in London.
John Tewell, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/9406236@N02/10031217265