Myth and History in the Historiography of Early Burma: Paradigms, Primary Sources, and Prejudices

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About the Publication

After a careful re-reading of primary sources written in Old Burmese, author Michael A. Aung-Thwin set about tracing the history of five key events that took place during the Kingdom of Pagan in order to disentangle that history from myth. He found that four of the five events, which have been considered the most important in the history of early Burma, are actually inventions of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial historians caught in their own intellectual and political world. A fifth is a genuine indigenous Burmese myth, but it too has been embellished by modern historians. Aung-Thwin concludes that these five key events, which have been taught as Burmese history for the past hundred years, actually have no basis in history.
          In addition to setting the record straight, the study demonstrates the subtle relationships that exist between the historian's own social, political, and academic perspectives and their historiography, which the public at large has come to accept as history. It concludes with a glimpse of the myth-making process currently underway in today's Burma.
          (Ohio University Press/ISEAS co-publication. Orders to ISEAS only for customers in Asia, China, Japan, East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand)

Co-publication: ISEAS / Ohio University Press

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies / Ohio University Press

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