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Surveying the Sounds of Protest in Myanmar
March 29 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Music is not simply something that reflects society but is a strategic tool used by people to shape their world. In this presentation Professor Gavin Douglas examines the significance of music (and a variety of other sounds) in Myanmar’s recent political transformation from dictatorship to fledgling democracy and back to dictatorship. Over this recent history, music is used to galvanize pro-democracy resistance movements, to reinforce the policies of the oppressing government, to cultivate Buddhist nationalism, and to assert minority rights. A variety of protest types will be surveyed and organized while telling the story of Myanmar’s recent political transformations.
Gavin Douglas holds BMUS and BA degrees from Queen’s University, an MM from the University of Texas, and a PhD from the University of Washington. He is currently professor of ethnomusicology in the School of Music and adjunct professor of anthropology at UNC Greensboro. He is the author of Music in Mainland Southeast Asia (Oxford), a text that explores diversity, political trauma and globalization across Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. His other writings can be found in a variety of journals and edited volumes on topics such as state patronage of the arts, music and politics, ethnic minority traditions, and the sound worlds of Theravada Buddhism. He is an active guitarist, fiddle player and Irish flutist.