Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
From Burma to Myanmar (Part I): colonial Burma under British rule (1824-1941)
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Semester Assessment Source Analysis  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Source Analysis  1500 Words  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of a body of historical knowledge relating to colonial Burma from the First Anglo-Burmese War to the start of the Second World War.

Identify different perspectives in understanding the establishment and development of a colonial regime, and critically assess the impact of colonialism on the Burmese society.

Systematically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of key historical arguments around British colonialism in Asia, and where necessary challenge them.

Critically engage with current approaches to non-Western histories, including frameworks in the context of post-colonial studies and decolonising debates.

Read, analyse and reflect on a variety of, and often biased, primary sources in the context of colonial Burma.

Brief description

To secure India’s north-eastern frontier and to open a direct trade route to China, Britain extended its colonial expansion to the Kingdom of Burma, a country with rich natural resources and multi-ethnic residents. After three wars between 1824 and 1886, Burma was annexed and governed as part of British India. Following the transformation of Burma from an ancient Buddhist kingdom to a British colony in Southeast Asia, Part I explores the early Anglo-Burmese encounters by travellers, diplomats and missionaries, colonial wars and resistance in the late nineteenth century, and British Burma’s ethnographic, social, and political landscapes during the first decades of the twentieth century.


This module provides an intensive documents-based study of society and politics in Burma under British rule, to assess the establishment and development of a colonial regime in an Asian context through perspectives of both the colonisers and the colonised.


10 two-hour seminars:
1. Introduction: Burma or Myanmar?
2. Burmese kingdoms before the nineteenth century
3. Early encounters: Europeans visiting Burma
4. Early encounters: Burmese visiting the West
5. Christian missionaries in Buddhist Burma
6. Three Anglo-Burmese wars and the final annexation
7. Medicine under colonial rule
8. Ethnographic surveys and colonial census
9. Conflicts and crisis in the early twentieth century
10. Rangoon: ‘the garden city of the East’

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.
Creative Problem Solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and assignments.
Critical and analytical thinking Students will develop their critical and analytical thinking by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the seminars.
Digital capability Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Professional communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Real world sense Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop knowledge of the historical trajectory of a key case study in modern history and contemporary society. Students will also develop ability to identify and assess primary sources, and apply critical approaches.


This module is at CQFW Level 6