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The City and the Country

  • Stephen L. Keck
Chapter
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Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)

Abstract

Interpreting both the ‘end of traditional Burma’ and the significance of Buddhism was done against the backdrop of rapid and decisive social transformations. Nothing embodied these changes as much as the development of Rangoon as a major imperial port city. Raymond Williams’s The City and the Country is admittedly an unlikely organizing inspiration for a study in imperial cultural history, but the division on which his classic work is predicated is indicative of key aspects of the Burmascape.1 Already in The Burman, which was written prior to the unification of the country, Scott deployed Rangoon as a signifier for modernization, commercial development and colonial rule. Yet, this chapter will point to a different trend: namely, that despite the fact that the Burmaphiles, and those who looked askance at much that they found there, all assumed that this backwater province of the Indian empire benefitted from these realities, they were much more interested in the rural and natural aspects of Burma. That is, many sought to represent the country itself as the ‘true Burma’ even though their writings illustrated that the land was as difficult to traverse as it was diverse. At the same time, their narrative accounts often had the unintended effect of proclaiming the power of British rule over such a challenging and exotic land. In order to pursue these themes in greater depth, this chapter will focus upon some of the ways in which British authors regarded Rangoon and other cities.

Keywords

Indian Ocean Commercial Development British Rule South Asian Population British Empire 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 22.
    James Francis Warren, Ah Ku and Karayuki-San: Prostitution in Singapore1870– 1940. (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2003), p. 67.Google Scholar
  3. 35.
    Colonel Pollock and W.S. Thom, Wild Sports of Burma and Assam (London: Hurst and Blackett, Ltd, 1900), p. 389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 37.
    Enriquez, A Burmese Loneliness: A Tale of Travel in Burma, The Southern Shan States and Keng Tung (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co., 1918), pp. vii–viii.Google Scholar
  5. 48.
    Raymond L. Bryant, The Political Ecology of Forestry in Burma, 1824–1994 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996), p. 84.Google Scholar
  6. 58.
    Marilyn V. Longmuir, Oil in Burma: The Extraction of “Earth Oil” to1914 (Bangkok: White Lotus, 2001), p. 6.Google Scholar
  7. 72.
    John Walsh, “Robert Gordon and the Rubies of Mogok: Industrial Capitalism, Imperialism and Technology in Conjunction”, Asian Culture and Society, 3, 1 (January 2011), pp. 96–96.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen L. Keck 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen L. Keck
    • 1
  1. 1.Emirates Diplomatic AcademyUnited Arab Emirates

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