Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Civilizing Burma: British literary representations of colonial Burma, 1890-1900
by McCormack, Carey, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 108; 1522245
Abstract (Summary)

From 1880 to 1900 British cultural ideologies determined how Burmese men and women were represented in literature and later determined colonial policy. The images of the childlike and lazy Burmese man and the independent Burmese woman were British constructions that legitimized colonization. By focusing primarily on British cultural representations of the people of Burma, this study demonstrates how the British utilized Victorian ideas of gender and normative sexuality to legitimize colonial rule by defining and categorizing Burma within the British Empire. The British literature analyzed in this paper consists of popular travel writing, soldier accounts, and missionary writing in order to evidence the varying and similar representations given by authors from these genres. These definitions situated Burma in the larger colonial context and became a site where British manhood and domesticity were constructed and put into practice. British representations of the men and women of colonial Burma were informed by gendered ideals and racial prejudice. The significance of the texts used in this study lies in their blatant use of gendered language in order to categorize and define the Burmese people as primitive which in turn defined colonization as a civilizing mission.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Takeuchi, Michiko
Commitee: Keirn, Tim, Schurer, Norbert
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: History
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: History, World History
Publication Number: 1522245
ISBN: 978-1-267-97740-3
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