Justine Chambers is a Visiting Fellow in Anthropology in the School of Culture, History and Languages at the Australian National University. With the support of her colleagues at ANU, the AAS Postdoctoral Fellowship will help Justine to finalise her book manuscript, Pursuing Morality: Everyday Ethics among Karen Buddhists in Southeastern Myanmar, with the National University of Singapore Press as part of their Southeast Asia Publication Series (in alliance with the University of Hawaii Press and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS)).
Pursuing Morality is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2015-2019 in Myanmar’s Karen State, an area which was closed off to international researchers for six decades because of conflict. It adds valuable insights into the lives of Plong (Pwo) Karen Buddhists from Myanmar and shows how the pursuit of morality is varied, performative and embedded in an affective notion of the self as an ethical agent. Readers of her dissertation describe her work as ethnographically rich and offering original and important contributions to studies of the Karen and other Buddhist minorities in Theravada Southeast Asia as well as anthropological theory on ethics and morality. Her forthcoming book will be welcomed by anthropologists and scholars of mainland Southeast Asia, as well as journalists and development studies practitioners who are looking for in-depth insights into an area of the world that remains largely defined by conflict and now military dictatorship.
In December 2021, Justine will be starting a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) working on a new research project exploring the interplay between climate change actions, conflict and peacebuilding in ethnic areas of Myanmar. You can read more about Justine’s work in a special issue she co-edited on 'Moral authorities in Myanmar’ for Sojourn. Justine has also co-edited two volumes for the ANU Myanmar Update series, with the latest Living with Myanmar published in 2020 by the ISEAS-Yusok Ishak Institute in Singapore. Beyond academic publications, Justine is also a regular commentator in the media on Myanmar's affairs and has worked for the British Council's MyJustice programme researching housing land and property rights and plural justice systems Myanmar.