Public Lecture: A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Prof Michael Aung-Thwin

Readers in Singapore interested in Burmese history might be interested in this public lecture by Prof. Michael Aung-Thwin on the Ava and Pegu kingdoms in 15th century Burma.

BURMA-THAI STUDY GROUP – A Tale of Two Kingdoms: Ava and Pegu in 15th-Century Burma by Prof Michael Aung-Thwin
11 Mar 2009, 3.30 pm
NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, AS3, Level 6, SEA Seminar Room 2 (#06-02)

Abstract:
“Burma” in the 15th century was one of reformulation as well as newness: whereas the Kingdom of Ava was a reformulation of Pagan, the Kingdom of Pegu was new. For Ava, it was a familiar situation: the same material environment and demographic base, the same economic, social and political institutions, the same language, writing system, cosmology, and culture. For Pegu, although it also shared the same script, cosmology and conceptual system, some of the same history, and used the physical infrastructure laid there by the Pyu earlier and Pagan later, the kingdom itself was new, created and led by newcomers to Lower Burma in a new socio-cultural and geo-economic setting of the late 13th century. The situation was thus a co-existence of both old and new, in time and in space. As such, Ava and Pegu represent less an irreconcilable, binary antithesis, but a workable synthesis in a dualism of differences. That dualism between Ava’s oldness and Pegu’s newness especially during most of the 15th century is an example, par excellence, of the “upstream-downstream” paradigm, a nearly universal principle in Southeast Asian history. It had consequences for both the history and historiography of Burma.

More information and registration details on the NUS Asia Research Institute Website.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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