University of Nottingham Malaysia
University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute-Malaysia (UoNARI-M)

A Conversation on Authoritarianism in Asia: Special focus on Iran and Burma

30th March 2023
For more information on this event, kindly e-mail UoNARI-M.

Photo by Darafsh on Wikimedia

Since the Spring Revolution in Burma sparked by the Tatmadaw coup d’etat in Feb 1st 2021, and the civil unrest and mass protests due to the Mahsa Amini death in detention in September 2022 in Iran, there have been much interest on these two hotspots. The international media initially portrayed the Mahsa Amini protests as a Islamist oppression of women under the hejab when in reality, the issues include a slew of broader problems not limited to gender that are part of the characteristics of authoritarian regimes. As for Myanmar, it is not so much that international media grossly misrepresents the conflict in the country as much as it just has ceased to attend to the ongoing revolution at all, as other global events have taken pride of place. This is unfortunate as Myanmar’s revolution is not just directed against the military but at a number of other entrenched problems - racism, classism, and patriarchy - as well. In both cases,  political opposition has been stifled and civilians—including children, and ethnic minorities have been fired upon. While these two events in recent history seem spectacular and momentous democratic uprisings, they are by no means new in the contextual history of authoritarianism in these nations.

Join our conversation with panel experts, Julia Roknifard (Iran) and Eliiott Prasse-Freeman (Myanmar) to discuss how authoritarianism refuses to loosen its grip in these two countries in Asia. Comparing the two states, we will cover the underlying economic reasons; the role of women; youth and the revolution; trans-ethnic solidarity whether mobilisation stems from ethnic exclusion or a cohesive uprising for national goals and lastly, the significance and consequences of violence. 

Date: 30 March 2023, Thursday
Time: 17:00 to 18:30 (GMT +8)
Location: Webinar via Zoom
Meeting ID: 842 3389 8591
Passcode: 926041

About the speakers: 
Julia Roknifard is an Assistant Professor at the School of Politics, History and International Relations (PHIR) of the University of Nottingham Malaysia, specialising on Iran and international security. 

Eliott Prasse-Freeman received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Yale University. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Myanmar, and has a book in print (Stanford University Press, August 2023) on Burmese subaltern political thought as adduced from an extended ethnography of activism and contentious politics in the country's semi-authoritarian setting. Prasse-Freeman also has a book project on Rohingya political subjectivity amidst dislocation and mass violence, with a particular focus on their maneuvers in the context of post-sovereign governmental regimes that incorporate Human Rights discourse, humanitarian care/exclusion, and biopolitical regulation.

Gaik Cheng Khoo, the UONARI Director will moderate the panel. Gaik is Assoc. Prof. in the School of Media, Languages and Cultures. She works on Southeast Asian films, food and identity, and Korean migrants in Malaysia. Her current project is on developing an ecological model for the durian industry in Malaysia.

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