Colonial Slaughterhouse Rules

A couple of weeks ago I had an article published by the Journal of Historical Geography on the history of dairy cattle in colonial Burma. The article explored how oxen were bound up with colonial geographies; in this case through the state’s policing of the movement of Indian milch cattle into British Burma. Something that…

Traffic Accidents and Structural Power

Re-reading the colonial judge Maurice Collis’ memoirs, Trials in Burma (1938), got me thinking about the history of traffic accidents. The final case that he discusses—the case that marked the beginning of the end to his career in the colony—hints at how traffic accidents could be understood as an expression of white privilege. The particular…

The Criminal Tribes of Burma

Back in May last year I wrote a blog that speculated on why it was that Criminal Tribes legislation was introduced into colonial Burma so late. The Act was originally enacted in 1871 and was being used in most parts of British India by 1911. But it was not brought to Burma until 1924. The…

Fowl Play in Colonial Burma

I’ve been trying to find links between my last research project on the history of corruption and my developing interest in animals, and I think I’ve found one: chickens! Chickens appear in investigations into corruption in late nineteenth-century colonial Burma as bribes. In a case from 1907, a Resident Excise Officer accepted chickens as a…

Picturing Convicts’ Bodies in Colonial Burma

The end of the teaching term last year coincided with the British Library releasing over one million images on their Flickr account. Making the most of this, I immediately began trawling through them to see what images of Burma I could find. Among the many I came across were two contrasting images of convicts. This…

Stomaching the Truth

I’ve recently been doing some research¬†for an article I’m writing about the career of a judge in the Indian Civil Service at the end of the nineteenth century called Aubray Percival Pennell. He was dramatically kicked out of the Service in 1901 after a career of publicly criticizing the Government of India in his judgments…