10-10.30am, 18 November, SOAS Khalili Theatre
Presentation by Aria Danaparamita
Highlands Gospel: Baptist Christianity in Myanmar’s Chin State
Highlands Gospel is a photography project that presents a portrait of Baptist life in Chin State, Myanmar. The project is based on fieldwork in March-April 2016 in communities around Falam and Hakka. In these remote upland communities, Christianity lies at the heart of cultural production, social life, economic/welfare systems, and politics. The portraits offer insight into the people’s individual relationship to Christianity, based on photographs, interviews, and observations of church services, bible studies, funerals, and weddings. This approach is informed by research on the history of the Baptist mission and critical theories on performance and ethnogenesis. Yet rather than impose an analytical narrative, the project foregrounds those personal stories as avenues to explore the historical and cultural impact of the Baptist mission, whilst gesturing towards broader themes of historiography, ethnicity, and collective memory.
Photographer: Aria Danaparamita (MA History of Art, SOAS University of London)
Sound recordist: Julius Bjornson (BA Ethnomusicology, Wesleyan University)
Fixer/primary translator: Sang Te (Graduate of Chin Institute of Social Science)