Timezone: (please note time change for this one)

12-1pm (AEST) (UTC+10), 8.30- 9:30am MMT (UTC+6.30)


The dialogues in the series will be held in hybrid mode, ie in-person on the ANU Campus, and virtually on zoom.

  • IN-PERSON: Regional Institutes Boardroom, HC Coombs Extension Building, 9 Fellows Road, ANU, Acton, ACT, 2601
  • ONLINE: Zoom. Once you register here, you will receive access to the online event page in Eventbrite where you will find the join link for the zoom meeting. Please select the relevant ticket, in-person or online, according to your preferred attendance mode.

For more information on the MRC 2023 Dialogue Series please see the MRC website or contact the Convenors:

You can subscribe to the ANU Myanmar Research Centre mailing list here.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Between Bama and Batha: Considering religious racialisation in colonial Burma

Scholarship on Myanmar, from its colonial history, to its citizenship crises, and the 2021 coup, has heretofore critically interrogated the relationship between ethno-racial identity and socio-political power. However, we have yet to address one important question: what exactly is the difference between ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’ in the context of Myanmar? This dialogue proposes the utility of reading Burmese history through the analytic lens of critical race theory to identify ethnicity and race as separate, though related, social processes, each with distinct ramifications. This talk will present new research on family law litigation involving mixed Chinese-Burmese Buddhist families in the wake of the ‘British Burma Law’s Act’ (1898-1948) to make the case that racialisation in Burma is drawn along lines of religious rather than ethnic distinction, and that it has historically been drawn along highly gendered lines.


Matthew Venker  is a cultural anthropologist studying the historical intersections of race, religion, and citizenship in Burma. His dissertation, Racial Categories, Religious Distinctions: Mixed Buddhists and the Burma Laws Act 1898-1947, interrogates how British colonial structures created new categories of legal personhood that divided the colony’s Buddhist population. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2023. He is currently a Visiting Fellow with the Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University. 

CHAIR: Hunter Marston

The Myanmar Research Centre Dialogue Series’ 2023 program includes a special series of nine presentations on the theme of revolution and solidarity in Myanmar, which is based on a collection of papers commissioned by the Myanmar Research Centre and the Danish Institute for International Studies.

Event details

Event date

Tue, 26 Sep 2023, 12 - 1pm

Related Academic Area