Research Proposal: Myanmar, Ethnic Conflict, and Global Discourse. Rachel Ferrari SISU

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1 Research Proposal: Myanmar, Ethnic Conflict, and Global Discourse Rachel Ferrari SISU

2 Research Question How have widespread perceptions of the ethnic violence and refugee crisis in Myanmar been influenced by news coverage, academic research, and official governmental responses to these events, and what effect has this discourse had on the status of the situation?

3 Literature/Background

4 Key Players Rohingya - Persecuted Muslim minority group Burmans - Majority ethnic group Myanmar government - primarily Buddhist Very repressive Designated not free by Freedom House Aung San Suu Kyi - current leader of Myanmar Daughter of Aung San, former leader & revolutionary

5 History : Anglo-Burmese War British colonialism expanded trade/migration shift in ethnic makeup intergroup resentment 1930s-40s: ethno-nationalist uprisings by ethnic Burmans 1948: independence 1962: military coup + junta established Minority discrimination Civil rights rollbacks Attacks on Rohingya villages

6 History 1970s: state-sponsored terror attacks on Rohingya Muslims Swept 200,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh 1982 Citizenship Law Revoked Rohingya citizenship denied legitimacy, refused to recognize as ethnic group 1989: Burma Myanmar Burman term reflecting power hierarchy 1990s: another wave of attacks 250,000 more Rohingya pushed out

7 Current Events Since 2015, huge increase in ethnic violence Killings, rape, destruction of villages Large number of IDPs + refugees fleeing to Bangladesh Rakhine State isolated by government August-October 2017 alone: 80 villages destroyed, 200 emptied 538,000 refugees Very little media/gov/un attention in West until recently Pope Francis visit

8 Current Events In total, 1.75 million Rohingya dispersed around the region 120,000 internally displaced Only ~600,000 Rohingya left in Myanmar itself

9 Theoretical Frameworks of Ethnic Politics 1. Primordialism - ethnic divisions are inherent, fixed 2. Rational Choice Theory - rational actors chose own identity 3. Structural Analysis - impact of institutions, laws, norms 4. Social Construction - influenced by power structures

10 Methodology

11 Research Design Interpretivist/discourse analysis Dependent variable perceptions and outcome of the crisis Independent variable written/verbal discourse Primary sources news articles, press releases, speech transcripts, social media interactions From journalists, scholars, politicians, public figures, etc. Goal: analyze discussion of conflict in news, academia, and government

12 Discursive Debate What to call the situation in Myanmar? Genocide: purposeful mass killing of an ethnic group by another group Ethnic cleansing: removal of one group from an area by another group Refugee crisis : less confrontational term Doesn t imply widespread connected efforts Possible analysis: proportion of usage of each term in an article

13 Next Steps for SISU Expand and update literature review 2. Gather data from three groups a. News media b. Academia c. Political/governmental 3. Identify patterns and compare similarities/differences 4. Reach a conclusion

14 Reflection - Why discourse analysis? Pros Flexible, adaptable Subjective sentiments/policies written documentation Uses open sources easy to attain Language skills not necessary due to translators Cons Reliance on translators a potential challenge Might be searching for info that doesn t exist, has not been reported on, or not translated Doesn t tell entire story -- Rohingya perspective missing (!!)

15 Bibliography Asrar, Shakeeb. Rohingya Crisis Explained in Maps. Al Jazeera, September 20, Web. interactive/2017/09/rohingya-crisis-explained-maps html. Crawford, Jamie. Tillerson Says US Can t Ignore Myanmar Humanitarian Crisis. CNN News. 18 October Web. Fredholm, Michael. Burma: Ethnicity and Insurgency. Praeger Publishers, Print. Fisher, Jonah. UN Failures on Rohingya Revealed. BBC News, 28 September Web. Goldman, Russell. Why Aung San Suu Kyi s Nobel Peace Prize Won t Be Revoked. The New York Times, September 4, Web. Green, Penny, et al. Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar. International State Crime Initiative, Web. Horowitz, Jason. Pope Defends His Myanmar Diplomacy: I Did Not Negotiate With the Truth. The New York Times, 2 December Web. Kosem, Samak, and Amjad Saleem. Religion, Nationalism and the Rohingya s Search for Citizenship in Myanmar." In Muslim Minority-State Relations: Violence, Integration and Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, Web.

16 Bibliography Nauert, Heather. Accountability for Human Rights Abuses in Rakhine State, Burma. U.S. State Department, Bureau of Public Affairs. 23 October Web. Pope Francis. Pope Francis Addresses Myanmar s Leaders: Full Text. Vatican Radio. 11 November Transcript. Rannard, Georgina. Rohingya Crisis: What s Behind These 1.2 Million Tweets? BBC News, 5 September Web. Roth, Kenneth This was until recently a Rohingya Muslim village. Now it's just charred destruction. 700 buildings burned. Myanmar. [Image]. 3 September Tweet. Statement on Peace, Stability, and Rule of Law. Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Press Release. gov.mm/en/?q=briefing-room/statements-and-releases/2017/09/07/id Sun, Yun. Why the World Can t Afford to Ignore to Ignore the Rohingya Refugee Crisis. The National Interest, 13 September Web. Thawnghmung, Ardeth Maung. The Other Karen in Myanmar: Ethnic Minorities and the Struggle Without Arms. Lexington Books, Print.

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