Watch the May 2021 roundtable discussion with the Danish Institute Against Torture on the history of political detention in Burma and its links to the country's democracy movement.

To download a transcript with Burmese translation, please see below.


  • Andrew M. Jefferson, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute Against Torture
  • Tomas Martin, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute Against Torture
  • Liv Gaborit, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Sociology, Lund University
  • Nay Tin Myint, Former Political Prisoner and Chairman, National League for Democracy Supporting Organization (NLDOS) in the United States
  • Kenneth Wong, Lecturer, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley 

Moderator: Seinenu Thein Lemelson, Lecturer in Anthropology, UCLA

Since the British set up the penal system, Burmese prisons have been sites of political contestation, symbolism, ideological advancement, as well as new forms of agency and resistance. Burmese prisons have also been places of deep terror, violence, and inhumanity. What are the psychological and cultural legacies left behind by the practice of mass political incarceration in Burma? How has the experience of detention shaped the subjectivity of political prisoners, their families, and the broader Burmese public? How did acts of political imprisonment suppress or upend political protest, while simultaneously creating new modes of solidarity and resistance? How are practices and legacies of detention linked to the history of colonization and how can we better understand the postcolonial through the lens of the prison? In what ways did widespread detention change the structure of family, the nature of communities and social networks, and broader imaginings of nationhood for those who participated in the Burmese democracy movement? 
A roundtable discussion with members of DIGNITY - the Danish Institute Against Torture - on the history of political detention in Burma as it links up with the country's democracy movement and with the current Civil Disobedience Movement. DIGNITY has been conducting research on historical and contemporary Burmese prisons since 2016.

To donate to the fundraiser organized by Thein-Lemelson:
Food and Supplies for Political Prisoners in Burma


Download file:Legacies-of-Political-Detention-in-Myanmar-transcript-5-14-21-u2-kae.pdf

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Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2021