Modeling Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Myanmar Collections

MILLER, Christopher A. (2018) Modeling Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Myanmar Collections. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 246 - Religions: Libraries and Dialogue SIG.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2227
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Modeling Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Myanmar Collections

Over the past few years, Myanmar has been at the focus of renewed scrutiny for economic, social, and political challenges faced by a complex nation-state inclusive of great diversity, both in socio-linguistic communities and religious traditions. The current conflicts between the majority (Buddhist) Burmese and the minority (Muslim) Rohingya and (Christian) Kachin are a prominent and highly visible feature of more pervasive and long-standing religious and cultural divisions. In partnership with Harvard Widener Library and Harvard humanities faculty, the author has been collecting resources across Myanmar for the past three years with the specific purpose of targeting acquisitions in minority languages, especially materials that illuminate religious texts and customary practice. These collections are meant to not only present a more dynamic religious and social narrative outside of specifically Buddhist communities and traditions (with Chin, Karen, Kachin, and Rohingya materials) but to also expand access to interpretations of the Theravada Buddhist canon beyond those in Burmese (to include Mon, Shan, Pa’O, and Rakhine). A key hope for this project is to challenge the existing dominance of Burmese voices by modeling a more balanced religious dialogue in library collections and to negotiate broader community dialogue through access.

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