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Cities and Immigrants in Southeast Asia: The Case of Colonial Rangoon

Taliaferro Hall 2110
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Our paper lays out the broad contours of urban development in Southeast Asia, focusing on a case study of Rangoon between 1860 and 1940. In this period Rangoon was the most important rice port in the world and immigrants comprised an extremely high proportion of the population —much higher, for example, than was the case in New York, long considered the quintessential “immigrant city.”  An analysis of Rangoon’s economic role in Burma (and in the British Empire) will afford us insight into a variety of important questions relating to economic development, and shed light on the dynamics of migration flows in (and around) Southeast Asia during the age of high imperialism.  We shall also detail some of the profound social and political effects of massive immigration on the city of Rangoon itself.

Peter A. Coclanis is Albert R. Newsome Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Global Research Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill. He works primarily in U.S., Southeast Asian, and global economic and business history and has published widely in all of these areas. His most recent book is Rice: Global Networks and New Histories (Cambridge University Press, 2015) edited with Francesca Bray and Edda Fields-Black.

Angelo Coclanis (MA/MSc– Columbia and London School of Economics) has focused his research on the social and economic impact of Indian migrant labor in Rangoon (1886-1932). He currently teaches history at the Solebury School in Bucks County, PA.

Graduate students are invited to discuss research, teaching, and career possibilities with the speakers over lunch at noon in TLF 2110.

The talk will be followed by an end-of-year reception. RSVP at 301-405-4299 or millercenter@umd.edu