Master of Arts (MA)
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Buddhism, Religion and Violence, Feminism, Myanmar, Theravada, Burma
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This thesis uses transnational and Black feminist frameworks to analyze Buddhist nationalist discourses of gender and violence against religious and ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Burmese Buddhist nationalists’ marginalization of the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority is inextricably linked to their attempts to control Buddhist women. Research includes interviews with U Ashin Wirathu, the leader of the monastic-led nationalist group, the 969 Movement, and with other monks of the organization, as well as with non-nationalist monks, nuns and laywomen. I also analyze Theravada textual discourse as read by my subjects in light of the history of Myanmar to understand the ways the local Theravada tradition has marginalized women and non-Buddhists. By connecting the lack of bhikkhuni ordination and laws hindering Buddhist women from marrying non-Buddhist men with the portrayal of the Rohingya as a threat to the nation, I show how Buddhist nationalists attempt to consolidate power and forestall the democratization process.
d'Elena, Grisel, "The Gender Problem of Buddhist Nationalism in Myanmar: The 969 Movement and Theravada Nuns" (2016). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2463.
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