My dissertation looks at the production of vernacular knowledge about the economy in colonial Burma. By "vernacular knowledge," I primarily mean knowledge generated in Burmese for a Burmese speaking/reading audience. This project takes up a few different types of evidence from the disassembled vernacular record -- print materials, interlocutors in government records, and the erasure of Burmese input in other "expert" Western productions -- to rethink the role that Burmese people played in the colonial economy.

By focusing on vernacular knowledge, this project exposes a wide variety of material, textual, and bureaucratic engagements by colonial subjects that were both generated by, and generative of, life at the edge of British India. I'm especially interested in handbooks with complex intellectual geographies that sought to guide their readers to financial reward, and the way Burmese people shared information about markets, be they local bazaars or national minerals markets. This is a history of practices that seeks to describe the character of vernacular knowledge and expertise in early twentieth century Burma, and by doing so, it also reconsiders standard narratives of Burmese economic history.