Coloniality and Decoloniality in Rangoon's city space

Lisa Tilley


The story of Rangoon2 (today’s Yangon) is usually told through the transforming impulse of British Imperial desires or through the architectural gaze of the forces of foreign investment, but for the Burmese poet Maung Chaw Nwe, “Rangoon was born in Rangoon/ Rangoon was raised in Rangoon.” Here he implied that, despite the designs of external political and economic power, Rangoon was born of itself and has been its own parent, its own mediator. Indeed, to speak of a city as “mediated3” suggests a place intervened in and thereby resolved or brought into agreement, but Rangoon, like any city, is never resolved; it is a settlement in a perpetual state of unsettlement. The most we can speak of are those forces which might be considered “shaping spirits”4 on the city, which serve to reshape its topography in a particular way; and the place where those forces meet is Rangoon, where there is no other mediator than Rangoon itself. 

Link: here

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.