SURROUND SOUND COPYRIGHT 2011
Background photo courtesy of Wasitthee Chaiyakan
I have been interested in transnational histories of Asia (and Africa) for two decades now. My dissertation at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1999), "Where Jambudipa and Islamdom Converged: Religious change and the Emergence of Buddhist Communalism in Early Modern Arakan," dealt with the religious and political tensions that emerged in the Bay of Bengal over the course of the early modern period from its place at the overlap of the Theravada Buddhist and Islamic worlds. In it, I examined the emergence of religious communalism in Western Burma, in a region -- Arakan or Rakhaing -- that is in the new quite a lot recently, among Buddhists but also in the context of the emergence of the Rohingya community. My research interest in transnational migration led to a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Studies at the National university of Singapore (1999-2001) focused on transnational migration in the context of religious communalism and community formation.