Justine Chambers

Justine Chambers

PhD Candidate


Bachelor of International and Global Studies, Hons I., University of Sydney; Master of Development Studies, University of New South Wales
Contact details
M: 0402671434
Room: 7226
Building: HC Coombs Building

Justine Chambers is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, School of Culture, History and Languages, College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. As part of her research she conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Hpa-an, the capital of Karen state Myanmar in 2015-16. Her thesis focuses on understandings of morality and goodness in the post-conflict landscape of Karen state, getting to grip with how the significant social, political and economic changes of the last five years are impacting the lives of people both young and old.

Justine is also the Associate Director of the Myanmar Research Centre and the co-convenor of the 2017 Myanmar Update. She holds an MA in Development Studies and spent some years before her PhD working with refugee populations in Thailand, India and Australia.

Conference papers:

2017: 'At the Margins: Muslim Belonging and Identity in Contemporary Myanmar,' Australian Anthropology Society Conference (12-15 Dec), University of Adelaide.

2017: 'Buddhism, Morality and Power: Everyday Understandings of What it Means to Live a ‘Good’ Life Amongst Karen people in Hpa-an, Myanmar', European Association for Southeast Asian Studies Conference (16-18 Aug), University of Oxford.

2017: 'Amorality and Power: Illicit Economies of Practice and Hierarchies of the ‘Good’, Anthropology in London Day, (13 June), University College London.

2017: 'Coming of Age in Hpa-an: Hope and visions of the ‘good’ life', Myanmar update (17-18 Feb), Australian National University.

2016: 'Coming of Age in Hpa-an: Morality as a Process of Navigation and Conjuncture', Australian Anthropological Society Annual Conference (13-15 Dec), The University of Sydney.

2016: 'Reclaiming a Moral Life: Plong Karen Buddhist Imaginaries at the base of Mount Zwegabin', Burma Studies Conference (Oct 7-9), Northern Illinois University.

2016: 'Youth and Ethnic Identity in Flux: Navigating Myanmar’s Transition', Australian Asian Studies Association Biennial Conference (Jul 5-7), Australian National University.

2015: ‘Capturing Complexity: Reframing the Lives of Myanmar’s Plong Karen’, International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies (ICBMS) (July 25-27), Chiang Mai University.

You can find her writing and commentary on Myanmar and Karen state in outlets including New Mandala, Nikkei Asian Review, The Myanmar Times and Oxford's Tea Circle.

Book Review: The Politics of Aid to Burma: a Humanitarian Struggle on the Thai-Burmese Border (Décobert, 2016)

Unpicking an (A)moral Anthropological Stance: Ongoing Violence in Myanmar

Buddhist extremism, despite a clampdown, spreads in Myanmar

The Karen in 2017: Resilience, Aspirations and Politics

Optimism and Despair in Myanmar

In Myanmar's Karen State, People Dare to Dream Again

Karen State's new chief signals continuity and change

For Karen Voters in Hpa-an, Myanmar’s Elections are a National Affair

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster