Friday, 25 April 2014

My interest is the religious identity of the Arakanese began in Athens, Ohio in 1992. I had attempted to write a term paper on Arakan for a Buddhist philosophy course at Ohio University for Elizaberth Collins. It was incredibly difficult to find any agreement in the secondary literature regarding the question of the religious identity of the Arakanese. Some scholars suggested that the Arakanese were Muslims , while others held that to be Arakanese was to be Buddhist. I stumbled across Portuguese accounts which described Arakanese rulers in ways which suggested concurrent Muslim and Buddhist indentities. Face with is duality, I opted to view this as example of syncretism. With this perspective, I carried my interest in Arakan through a master thesis under William H.Frederick at Ohio University(1993), and through several seminar paper on Arakan for Victor Lieberman at the University of Michigan. I shelved a deeper investigation on the issue of Arakanese religious identities until a later date. This dissertation is the product on my return to this issue. To read more:Please click here