Jane M. Ferguson, "Silver Screens and Golden Dreams: A Social History of Burmese Cinema" (U Hawaii Press, 2024)


Within the social sciences and the humanities, international research in Burma/Myanmar studies tends to lean toward political science and Buddhist studies, or what can be characterized as the “soldiers or monks” approach. The political situation within the country has restricted the access that foreign researchers have had to the country. It has also shaped the type of research that international scholars choose to research and that grant agencies are willing to fund. As a result of this our understanding of Burmese society and culture is comparatively weak.

Jane Ferguson has tried to tackle this problem in her highly original study of the Burmese film industry. Her book, Silver Screens and Golden Dreams: A Social History of Burmese Cinema (University of Hawai’i Press, 2024) paints a very different picture of Burma to the one we are used to. The book depicts Burma as an outwardly oriented, internationally connected place, with a vibrant and creative movie industry, talented film directors, packed cinemas, glamorous movie stars, and even a Burmese version of the Academy Awards.

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Patrick Jory

Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: p.jory@uq.edu.au.

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