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Literary Culture on the Burma–Manipur Frontier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Charney, Michael W. (2011) 'Literary Culture on the Burma–Manipur Frontier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.' The Medieval History Journal, 14 (2). pp. 159-181.

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Abstract

Intellectual exchange between South Asian and Southeast Asian societies before and outside of colonialism is still poorly understood, both because of the lingering cultural essentialism promoted by colonial scholarship and the national and regional politics that have dominated historical perspectives since. Certainly, the role of local literati in the Chindwin river area on the Burma–Manipur frontier as mediators in the movement of ideas and literature between the Indian subcontinent and Burma in the 18th and 19th centuries has been obscured by conventional political and intellectual history. This historiography has both partitioned and incor-porated the local, the transregional and the culturally diverse into national, regional and mono-cultural frameworks. The call by scholars of border-lands to reverse the way we examine border areas, taking a view from the periphery rather than the perspective of the centre, also invites the explora-tion of cultures that can complicate the state-centred narrative of literary history. The present article examines one precolonial scholarly network and the nature of its activities on what is conventionally viewed as the cultural and political periphery to raise questions about the central role attributed to the royal court in literary production, the neglect of the role of important women as patrons of local cultural activity, and the origins of Burma’s national literary heritage.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 09719458
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1177/097194581101400203
Depositing User: Michael Charney
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2011 11:24
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/12408

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