Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Myanmar (BBED6795)

Project details

Myanmar is a changing country, situated between India and China, with a complex and interesting past.  Through a partnership with the China Exploration & Research Society (CERS), this course sets out to introduce students to the past, present, and future of Myanmar through direct engagement with its landscapes, cultural heritage, and people.  Students will learn the basics of how archaeological theories and methods enable the study of past societies, and they will gain hands-on experience with digital humanities techniques for documenting ancient remains.  This allows us to investigate past uses of spaces and objects in the organization and performance of law and politics, a perspective that can help contextualize the present.  Students will also observe and participate in traditional crafts production to learn about daily life and economics in the villages of Myanmar.  This experience foregrounds a rights-based comparison of labor conditions and gender dynamics in the present with the past, which we investigate through the objects of the archaeological record.  Throughout this interdisciplinary class, students will engage with and interview community members, community leaders, and other stakeholders.  Students will consider the role of the law in preserving culture, protecting the environment, and supporting economic opportunities in the community.  The class will explore two very different environmental zones of the country that highlight the relationships between landscape and society: the flood plain of the Irrawaddy River, explored while living on a boat, and the resource-rich highlands around Inle Lake.  The class culminates with an analysis of the ethics surrounding the roles tourism plays within the modern state of Myanmar and Myanmar’s role within the international law framework.


  • Semester 1, 2019-20
  • An EL trip to Myanmar will be arranged in January 2020




Students from all UG programmes

[No. of places: 10]


Register BBED6795 Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Myanmar via SIS. Students will earn 6 credits after successful completion of the course.

Application Deadline

Online course add/drop period in Semester 1, 2019-20


Dr. Peter Cobb [Email: pcobb@hku.hk]