Type: Public event

The crisis in Myanmar: Repression, resistance, repercussions

Co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, and the Southeast Asia Program, Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Stanford University


David I. Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies Emeritus, Georgetown University, Washington, DC and Moe Thuzar, Fellow and Co-coordinator, Myanmar Studies Programme, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

Date & time

Apr 14, 2021, 8:00-9:30 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Shocking events obliterate context. The coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021 is a case in point. Who could imagine the cruelty of the Burmese generals who on February 1st 2021 grabbed power and proceeded to retain it by arresting thousands and murdering hundreds of its local opponents? Who expected that on February 2nd the country’s youth would launch a nonviolent Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and keep it going and growing against such massively intimidating odds? In this webinar, two experts will provide the essential but all too often missing contexts—current and historical, domestic and foreign, political and socioeconomic—within which the crisis can be understood, its future projected, and its implications assessed. To those ends, the on-the-ground knowledge, personal experience, and close observer's insights of Burmese scholar Moe Thuzar will interact with the insights of American professor David Steinberg based on his Burmese experiences and scholarship dating back into the 20th century.  

The webinar will consider in particular what the coup and its aftermath may imply for Southeast Asia and its relations with China.  Relevant in that regard is the involvement of all four panel members in a recent collection, The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century—Steinberg and Ciorciari as authors, Emmerson as editor, and Thuzar as an analyst who is using the book in her own research. 

From speakers' bios

David I. Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies Emeritus, Georgetown University, where he directed its Asian studies program (1997-2007). Other positions he has held include the presidency of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs and Southeast Asia-related US foreign-policy posts as a member of the Senior Foreign Service. He has also represented The Asia Foundation in South Korea, Burma, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C.  His 15 books and monographs include one translation, more than 150 articles, and several hundred op-eds.. Among these books are: Myanmar: The Dynamics of an Evolving Polity (ed., 2015); Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know (2013, 2nd edition); Modern China-Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence (with Fan Hongwei, 2012); Turmoil in Burma: Contested Legitimacies in Myanmar (2006); Burma: The State of Myanmar (2001); and Burma’s Road to Development (1981). His expertise includes the two Koreas, about which he has written widely. Professor Steinberg was educated at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Harvard University, Darmouth College, and Lingnan University in Canton (now Guangzhou), China.

Moe Thuzar joined the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore in 2008. Her responsibilities there have included managing or co-managing its Myanmar Studies Programme, serving as a lead researcher in its ASEAN Studies Centre, and helping the Centre engage with Myanmar regarding its turn to chair ASEAN in 2014. She spent the 2019-2020 academic year as a Fox International Fellow at Yale University's MacMillan Center researching the socio-cultural underpinnings of Burma’s Cold War foreign policy for her National University of Singapore PhD. Earlier she worked for a decade at the ASEAN Secretariat, where she headed its Human Development Unit. Her many publications include, as co-author, the 2020 and 2019 editions of ISEAS’s widely read State of Southeast Asia: Survey Report. Other recent writing includes chapters and articles in ASEAN-EU Partnerships: The Untold Story (ed., 2020); the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies (2019); Southeast Asian Affairs (ed., 2019); Human Security Norms in East Asia (ed., 2019); and, as co-author, ASEAN’s Myanmar Dilemma (with Lex Rieffel, 2018). Earlier works include Myanmar: Life After Nargis (with Pavin Chachavalpongpun, 2009).

Donald K. Emmerson, PhD: At Stanford, in addition to his work for the Southeast Asia Program and his affiliations with CDDRL and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Donald Emmerson has taught courses on Southeast Asia in East Asian Studies, International Policy Studies, and Political Science. He is active as an analyst of current policy issues involving Asia. In 2010 the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars awarded him a two-year Research Associateship given to “top scholars from across the United States” who “have successfully bridged the gap between the academy and policy.”

Emmerson’s research interests include Southeast Asia-China-US relations, the South China Sea, and the future of ASEAN. His publications, authored or edited, span more than a dozen books and monographs and some 200 articles, chapters, and shorter pieces.  Recent writings include The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century (ed., 2020); “‘No Sole Control’ in the South China Sea,” in Asia Policy  (2019); ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What Should Be Done? (ed., 2018); “Singapore and Goliath?,” in Journal of Democracy (2018); “Mapping ASEAN’s Futures,” in Contemporary Southeast Asia (2017); and “ASEAN Between China and America: Is It Time to Try Horsing the Cow?,” in Trans-Regional and –National Studies of Southeast Asia (2017).

Earlier work includes “Sunnylands or Rancho Mirage? ASEAN and the South China Sea,” in YaleGlobal (2016); “The Spectrum of Comparisons: A Discussion,” in Pacific Affairs (2014); “Facts, Minds, and Formats: Scholarship and Political Change in Indonesia” in Indonesian Studies: The State of the Field (2013); “Is Indonesia Rising? It Depends” in Indonesia Rising (2012); “Southeast Asia: Minding the Gap between Democracy and Governance,” in Journal of Democracy (April 2012); “The Problem and Promise of Focality in World Affairs,” in Strategic Review (August 2011); An American Place at an Asian Table? Regionalism and Its Reasons (2011); Asian Regionalism and US Policy: The Case for Creative Adaptation (2010); “The Useful Diversity of ‘Islamism’” and “Islamism: Pros, Cons, and Contexts” in Islamism: Conflicting Perspectives on Political Islam (2009); “Crisis and Consensus: America and ASEAN in a New Global Context” in Refreshing U.S.-Thai Relations (2009); and Hard Choices: Security, Democracy, and Regionalism in Southeast Asia (edited, 2008).

Have any questions?