From Citizen to Stateless

SAMUEL FARRIS — Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan


I propose to write about the history of the Rohingya people and how the concept of citizenship has led to what some argue is genocide. Much like the Jews under Nazi occupation, the Rohingya people have lost citizenship, freedom of movement, legal recourse, political participation, and face frequent violence. I will examine how politics, religion, and culture have shaped what constitutes to be a citizen of Myanmar. In 1959 the Rohingya were officially granted citizenship, but The Citizenship Law of 1982 removed the Rohingya from the list of 135 national races. Thus, the Rohingya became stateless. I will examine the roots of this change and the ramifications it has on the Rohingya people.


I am a Southeast Asian Studies masters student who will graduate December 2018. I just completed a academic year FLAS in Thai language and am currently a Summer FLAS fellow in Thailand studying Thai. Starting September 2017-August 2018 I will be a Boren Fellow studying intensive Thai at Chulalongkorn University. My focus is on Thai politics and language. I will be working on my thesis over the following year. It will be on how the change from regional minimum wage to a national minimum wage in Thailand effected registration rates of low skilled Myanmar workers in various regions in Thailand.


Full paper — Farris 2017 full paper (PDF)

Slideshow — Farris 2017 (PPTX)