Director: Catherine Raymond
Catherine Raymond, associate professor of art, Ph.D.
U Saw Tun, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, M.A.
The Center for Burma Studies was established in 1987 as a repository for multivarious materials on Burma (Myanmar). The purpose of the Center for Burma Studies is to encourage and promote the scholarly study of Burma. The establishment of the center was made possible by the selection of NIU as the national repository for valuable Birmanica items and the appointment of a director to oversee the collections and to organize national and international gatherings.
Since its inauguration the bibliographic and art holdings have quadrupled with a bequest from the private collection of Jerry Paul Bennett. Among the over 12,000 items in various Burmese collections are an impressive map series, located in the Rare Books and Special Collection at Founders Memorial Library on the second and fourth floors.
The Burma Gallery in the NIU Museum exhibits selections from the permanent collection on a continuous basis as well as hosting visiting exhibitions. The center publishes The Journal of Burma Studies and distributes other relevant material including the Burma Studies Group Bulletin. The biennial Burma Studies Colloquium brings international scholars and Burma watchers to NIU. The center also collaborates with the (national) Association for Asian Studies to hold conjunctive annual meetings.
The Southeast Asian Collection located in Founders Memorial Library contains published works, periodicals, microfilm, and microfiche concerning Burma. These volumes offer the researcher considerable intellectual challenge and opportunity from their broad base of subject matter, time span, and cultural perspective. The center works in coordination with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in assisting those students who wish to include Burma Studies as part of a certificate of graduate study in Southeast Asian studies which may then be listed on the student’s transcript.
The center supports 28 courses at NIU which offer significant opportunity to understand more of the anthropology, art history, economics, geography, history, linguistic origin, literature, music, political science, public health, and cultural development of Burma. In addition, the center supports the acquisition of funds for graduate students including Fulbright, FLAS, Luce, and private foundation grants. Since 1990, a Burmese librarian and a Burmese linguist have been hired.
The work of the center and the significance of its bequests have brought international recognition to NIU.