Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
From Burma to Myanmar (Part II): Challenges for a young nation state since 1942
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Exam  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Exam  2000 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of a body of historical knowledge relating to wartime Burma and independent Myanmar since 1942.

Identify different factors that facilitated and challenged a young nation state in its searching for peace and identity; and critically assess the impact of decolonisation and post-war geopolitics on the people in Myanmar.

Systematically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of key historical arguments around post-war nation-building 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 wartime Burma and independent Myanmar.

Brief description

Being a vital part of the China-Burma-India theatre in WWII, Burma witnessed some of the fiercest battles during the war, which left long-lasting legacies for all parties involved. The war accelerated the anti-colonial movement and Myanmar declared independence in 1948. Yet it soon fell under a military dictatorship in 1962, and its struggle for peace and democracy continues till the present day, most notably under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Part II continues to follow the transformation of the country during and after WWII by looking into origins of the many challenges in the Myanmar society today, including the unreconcilable relationship between military and civilian authorities, the stagnant economy, the ethnic conflicts along its border, and its strategic location between two emerging global powers, India and China.


This module provides an intensive documents-based study of society and politics in Japanese-occupied Burma and post-war, independent Myanmar, to assess the collapse of a colonial regime, the birth of a new nation in post-war Asia, and its attempts to adjust along ideological, ethnic, and religious lines.


10 two-hour seminars:
1. WWII: memories from the East
2. WWII: memories from the West
3. WWII: wartime civilians
4. Independence of Myanmar and post-war nation-building
5. The Burmese way to socialism
6. Everyday life under the junta
7. Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy movements
8. Civil wars and ethnic refugees
9. Changing views from historians
10. Conclusion: decolonising the field

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