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Background photo courtesy of Wasitthee Chaiyakan

The Circulation and Control of Knowledge

My second monograph, Powerful :Learning: Buddhist Literati and the Throne in Burma's Last Dynasty, 1752-1885, published by the University of Michigan Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies in 2006, is the first intellectual history of precolonial Burma. The book shows how Burmese had their own vision of global interrelationships that were not introduced by European empires. Acting on this vision, a textual community on the periphery of the Burmese kingdom led an intellectual and religious reformation that transformed the 18th-19th Century Myanmar State, forging a path for Myanmar society from traditional to modern thought.


My current project focuses on the circulation of military logistical technologies, especially those involving railways, around Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia during the early years of World War II.

Powerful Learning


The Encyclopaedia of Empire

I am one of two associate editors on the Encylopaedia of Empire, edited by John MacKenzie with assistant editor Nigel Dalziel. The mammoth project, covering all empires from antiquity to the neo-empires of the present, including over 400 entries and over one million words, has now been completed and is being published in hard copy and online.