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Refiguring women, colonialism, and modernity in Burma. 2011. Chie Ikeya. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press 239pp ISBN 96822-1888 (hbk) $45.00 Chie Ikeya's Refiguring women, colonialism, and modernity in Burma is a gendered rendition of women's experience of modernity in colonial Burma. In her Introduction, Ikeya pits her social historical masterpiece antithetically to Ma Ma Lay's 1955 Mon ywe mahu (Not out of hate). The latter portrayed the incompatibility, irreconcilable confrontation and impossibility of coexistence between Burmese tradition and Western modernity. The book reflects on the relationships among gender, colonialism, and modernity and examines how early twentieth-century transformations in colonial society, education, literary culture, politics, and the marketplace gave rise to new discourses about and practices related to women" (p ix). The author primes the reader to the contrary position she takes in portraying the hidden side of Burmese society, a society that "actively engaged with new and foreign identities, ideas, practices, and institutions whose thoughts and actions crossed religious, racial, and cultural boundaries", one open to influences from beyond and accommodated both westernisation and ethno nationalism (p 2). At the centre of the "modem woman" and colonialism-modernity discourse is feminism. Ubiquitous in various colonial media, the Burmese woman is an embodiment of dualisms: homemaker and public figure, earner and consumer, patriot and defector, pious and infidel, Burmese/Westernised. In particular, her modernity is conveyed in various terms, some with derogatory connotations: khit kala ("women of the times"), khit hmi thu (up-to-date woman), ya khu khit amyothami (present-day women), khit hsan thu (trendy woman), khit thit amyothami (woman of the new era) and tet khit thami (girl/daughter of the era of advancement).

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