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John Hartigan, Director SAC 4.102, 2201 Speedway Stop C3900, Austin TX 78712 • 512-471-4206

Ward Keeler

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Chicago

Ward Keeler


  • Phone: (512) 471-8520
  • Office: SAC 4.128
  • Office Hours: Spring 2013: Wednesdays 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: C3200


Additional affiliations: Editor, Bulletin of the Burma Studies Group; Trustee, Burma Studies Foundation; Member of the Editorial Board, Moussons: Social Science Research on Southeast Asia

Research interests:

My most recent fieldwork focused on Buddhist monks living in two monasteries in Mandalay, Burma. I was interested specifically in the nature of the relationships they had among themselves and with lay people. I also began research on the mass meditation movement in Burma, while continuing to do research among male-to-female transvestites. As in my earlier research in Java and Bali (Indonesia), I am interested in the ways assumptions about hierarchy inflect Burmese understandings of social relations.

Recent Publications:

Compact Disks

2010. Burma: Classical Theatre Music. A two-CD set. Produced by Ward Keeler. Liner notes by Ward Keeler. Archives internationales de musique populaire, Musée d’ethnographie, Geneva. AIMP XCVI-XCVII (VDE CD-1317/1318).

2003. Mahagita: harp and vocal music from Burma. Music recording coproduced with Rick Heizman. Liner notes by Ward Keeler. Smithsonian Folkways 40491.


2004. Durga Umayi, by Y. B. Mangunwijaya. Translated and annotated, with an Introduction and Afterword, by Ward Keeler. Seattle: University of Washington Press, Singapore: Singapore University Press.


In press: Engaging Students with Fiction, Memoirs, and Film. To appear in a collection of essays edited by Marilyn Cohen and published by Rowman Littlefiled in 2013.

2009. What’s Burmese about Burmese rap? : Why some expressive forms go global. American Ethnologist 36(1):2-19.

2008. Teaching Southeast Asia Through Fiction and Memoirs. Anthropology Today 24 (6): 16-19 (December, 2008).

2006. The Pleasures of Polyglossia. In ed. J. Lindsay, Between Tongues: Translation and/of/in Performance in Asia. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Pp. 204- 23.

2005. “But Princes Jump:” performing masculinity in Mandalay. In, ed. Monique Skidmore, Burma at the Turn of the 21st Century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Pp. 206-228.

2003. Wayang Kulit in the Political Margin. In, ed. Jan Mrazek, Puppet Theater in Contemporary Indonesia: New Approaches to Performance-Events. Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan Press. pp. 92-108.

2002. Durga Umayi and the Postcolonialist Dilemma. In, eds. Keith Foulcher and Tony Day, Clearing a Space: postcolonial readings of modern Indonesian literature. Leiden: KITLV Press. pp. 349-69.


Anthropology and expressive culture, including music, theatre, and literature; Buddhism and meditation; language and culture; postcoloniality; Java and Bali (Indonesia), and Burma.
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