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Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma$
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Chie Ikeya

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834616

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834616.001.0001

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The Colonial Setting

The Colonial Setting

(p.14) 1 The Colonial Setting
Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma

Chie Ikeya

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes the colonial setting from which the modern woman emerged, beginning with an overview of Burma's socioeconomic structure and plural society prior to the colonial period. It then discusses the British colonization of Burma that started in 1826 as well as the socioeconomic, political, and cultural transformations that paved the way for new discourses and practices concerning and involving women. It also examines significant demographic changes triggered by the influx of single male colonists, immigrants and migrant laborers from England and British India, along with the consequent increase in racially mixed unions or intermarriages; the institutionalization of a plural legal system; the establishment of government-funded “secular” education; the emergence of a popular commercial culture founded on mass print and visual media; and the growth of the public sphere.

Keywords:   socioeconomic structure, intermarriage, plural society, colonization, Burma, women, legal system, education, commercial culture, public sphere

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