Cultivating Islamophobia: Fear, Revulsion, and a Buddhist Movement Against Muslims in Myanmar


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies




Drawing on a unique corpus of Burmese-language materials and ethnography from four years of residence in Myanmar, this dissertation explores how, in the early twenty-first century, fear and revulsion of Islam were made into dispositions with intrinsic soteriological value. By tracing the consolidation of an anti-Muslim textual tradition that referenced scriptural sources yet was primarily vernacular, it demonstrates how these dispositions became distinctively Buddhist ethical types, rather than mere unfortunate byproducts of defending the sasana. By carefully attending to the successive material forms and activities of reading, copying, and sharing that this tradition relied upon, this dissertation also shows how the social process of circulating texts can give rise to novel Buddhist communities.