Special lecture: Ashley Dun

Special lecture: Ashley Dun

Presentation Title: "Living Things: Rebirthing Burmese American Literature"


How does one define “Burmese American literature” as a body of writing when the definition of the term “Burmese American” cannot be settled? Recent years have seen a “boom” in American literary works authored by the multi-ethnic diaspora of Burma/Myanmar. Such growth has occurred alongside global media coverage of multiple crises in the country: the most well-known being the 2021 military coup and its ongoing aftermath, the genocidal persecution of the Rohingya, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s “fall from grace” on the international stage. This presentation takes a deconstructive approach in seeking to understand Burmese American literature as a critical formation and Burmese American as a term for ethnic identity. Considering Burmese-ness itself as a literary object, I trace its genealogy in the context of how Burma/Myanmar exists in a U.S. political and cultural imaginary—an existence that has largely been shaped by the transnational cultivation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s icon as “mother” of a nation. Finally, vis-à-vis a reading of Wendy Law-Yone’s novel The Coffin Tree, I theorize Burmese American literature and identity as perennially “rebirthing” itself in a way that severs it from an over-determining mother figure.


In-person or virtual (registration required for online attendance)

Dial-In Information


Thursday, February 15 at 1:00 PM

Holmes Student Center, University Suite
600 Lucinda Ave, DeKalb, IL 60115

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