University of Washington

Mary P. Callahan

Curriculum Vitae

Jackson School of International Studies
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
Tel: 206-616-6206

Jackson School Ph.D. Fields: States, Markets, Societies; Peace, Violence Security; Law, Rights, Governance


September 2004 – present Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

May 2004 – August 2006 Director, International Studies Center, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

October 1999 September 2004 Assistant Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

September 2002-December 2002 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.

September 1995 – October 1999 Assistant Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, and Regional Director, Asia, Center for Civil-Military Relations, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.


1996 Ph.D., Government, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Fields of concentration: Comparative Politics, Southeast Asia Studies, Civil-Military Relations. Dissertation Committee Members: Benedict Anderson (chair), Jonas Pontusson, Takashi Shiraishi.

1991 M.A., Political Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Fields of concentration: Comparative Politics, Southeast Asia Studies.

1989 M.Soc.Sci., Asian Politics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Field of Concentration: International Relations.

1984 M.Sc., Political Philosophy, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England. Fields of Concentration: Democratic and Liberal Philosophy.

1983 B.A., with highest honors, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Fields of Concentration: American Politics, Political Theory.

MONOGRAPHS (*indicates peer reviewed)

*Political Authority in Burma’s Ethnic Minority States: Devolution, Occupation and Coexistence. Policy Studies No. 31. East-West Center, Washington, D.C., 2007.

*Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma. Cornell University Press, 2003; co-published with Singapore University Press for distribution in Asia. Awarded 2006 Henry J. Benda Prize for best first book on Southeast Asia, by Association for Asian Studies.


Political Reform in Post-Junta, Constitutional Myanmar. A study of the unexpected liberal turn of the (ex-)military-dominated government inaugurated in early 2011.

Rohingyas, Rakhines, and “Taingyinthar”: A Dangerous History of Race, Religion and Partisan Politics in Myanmar. Historical analysis of the causes of “communal” violence in western Myanmar.

Asian Militaries in Political Reform Processes. Comparative analysis of civil-military relations in transitional politics in Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan and Burma/Myanmar.

The History of Peace Negotiations in Modern Myanmar. Analysis of the thus-far unsuccessful conflict transformation processes in post-civil war Burma.

ARTICLES (*indicates peer reviewed) and REPORTS

“Post-SPDC “Politics” in Myanmar: No Longer Necessarily ‘National Security,’” in Conference Proceedings of “Myanmar in Reform 2012,” International Academic Symposium, The University of Hong Kong, 18-20 June 2012, forthcoming 2012, in Burmese language.

*“The Politics of Post-Junta, Constitutional Myanmar: Entrenching or Retrenching the Military-as-Institution?” in Dennis Blair, ed., Handbook on the Role of the Armed Forces in Supporting Democratic Transition, Council for a Community of Democracies, forthcoming 2012.

*“Military Politics in Post-Junta Myanmar,” Journal of Democracy 23:4, October 2012, forthcoming in Burmese language.

*“Military Politics in Post-Junta Myanmar,” Journal of Democracy 23:4, October 2012.

*“Drivers of Change in Post-Junta, Constitutional Burma,” US Agency for International Development, 6 February 2012.

“Political History of PSI Social Marketing and Franchising in Myanmar,” Population Services International, Yangon, Myanmar, 30 October 2011.

*“The Endurance of Military Rule in Burma/Myanmar: Not Why, But Why Not?” in Susan L. Levenstein, ed. Finding Dollars, Sense, and Legitimacy in Burma, Woodrow Wilson Center, 2010.

*“Perpetual Junta: Solving the Riddle of the Tatmadaw’s Long Reign,” New Left Review 60 (Nov/Dec 2009), pp. 27-63.

With Karin Eberhardt, “Strategy Review: Country Assistance Plan, Myanmar,” Department for International Development (UK), 28 April 2008.

“Of Kyay-zu and Kyet-su: The Burma/Myanmar Military in 2006,” in Trevor Wilson and Monique Skidmore, eds., Myanmar: The State, Community and the Environment (Asia Pacific Press, 2007).

*“Forecasting Failure in Southeast Asia: Burma Since the 1990s,” in Patricio N. Abinales, Ishikawa Noburu, and Tanabe Akio, eds., Dislocating Nation-States: Globalization in Asia and Africa (Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 2005).

*"Making Myanmars: Language, Territory and Belonging in Post-Socialist Burma," in Joel Migdal, ed., Boundaries and Belonging: State, Society and the Formation of Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

*"Language Policy in Modern Burma,” in Michael Brown and Sumit Ganguly, eds., Fighting Words: Language Policy and Ethnic Relations in Asia (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003), 143-175.

"When Soldiers Kill Civilians: Burma's Crackdown in 1988 in Comparative Perspective," in Audrey Kahin and James Siegel, eds., Southeast Asia Over Three Generations: Essays Presented to Benedict Anderson (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2003), 331-46.

*“State Formation in the Shadow of the Raj: Violence, Warfare and Politics in Colonial Burma,” Southeast Asia Studies, Spring 2002, 513-36.

*"Civil-Military Relations in Burma: Soldiers as State-Builders in the Postcolonial Era," in Muthiah Alagappa, ed., Coercion and Governance: The Declining Role of the Military in Asia, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), 412-29.

"Cracks in the Edifice: Military-Society Relations in Burma Since 1988m" in Ron May, Morten Pederson and Emily Rudland, eds., Burma: Strong State/Weak Regime, (Sydney: Crawford House, 2000), 22-51.

"Civil-Military Relations in Indonesia: Reformasi and Beyond," Partnership for Democratic Governance and Security, Occasional Paper No. 4, September 1999. Available online at: (16 pages).

“Citizen Soldier,” in John Whiteclay Chambers II, ed., The Oxford Companion to American Military History, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 119-20.

“Women in the Military,” in John Whiteclay Chambers II, The Oxford Companion to American Military History, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 808-9.

“Myanmar (Pyidaungsu Myanmar Naingandaw),” in George E. Delury, ed., The World Encyclopedia of Political Systems and Parties, (New York: Facts on File Press, 1999), 766-9.

*"Junta Dreams or Nightmares? Observations of Burma's Military Since 1988," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 31:3 (1999), 52-58.

*"The Sinking Schooner: Murder and the State in 'Democratic' Burma," in Carl Trocki, ed., Gangsters, the State and Democracy in Southeast Asia (Ithaca: NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1998), 17-37.

“Democracy in Burma: Lessons from History,” in “Political Legacies and Prospects for Democratic Development,” NBR Analysis 9:3 (May 1998), 5-26. Available online at

“On Time Warps and Warped Time: Lessons from Burma’s ‘Democratic Era,’” in Robert Rotberg, ed., Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future (Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1998), 49-83.

“Building an Army: The Early Years of the Tatmadaw,” Burma Debate IV:3, July/August 1997. Available online at

“Burma in 1995: Looking Beyond the Release of Aung San Suu Kyi,” Asian Survey XXXVI:2, February 1996, 158-64.

“Myanmar in 1994: New Dragon or Still Dragging?” Asian Survey XXXV: 2, February 1995, 201-8.
“Burmese Research Days,” Southeast Asia Program Bulletin, Spring 1994.


“Lessons in Peacemaking, Demobilization and Desecuritization from Myanmar History,” to conference on Myanmar Workshop: Can Political Reforms Bring Peace to Myanmar? Myanmar Peace Center and Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Yangon, Myanmar, October 12-14, 2012.

“Foreign vs. Domestic Perceptions of the Violence in Western Myanmar,” to Conference on National Identity and Citizenship in Myanmar, September 16-17, 2012.

“The ‘New’ Burma/Myanmar,” to Foreign Service (Retirees) Association of Washington State, Seattle, WA, July 14, 2012.

“From ‘Axis of Evil’ to ‘Role Model’: The Unlikely Politics of Post-Junta, Constitutional Myanmar,” presented to “Myanmar in Reform 2012,” International Academic Symposium, The University of Hong Kong, 18-20 June 2012.

“Politics in Post-Junta, Constitutional Myanmar,” Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle, Washington, February 17, 2012.

“US-Myanmar Relations,” to conference on “Myanmar after the 2010 Elections,” Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong, 26-27 January 2012.

“CCA and the Post-Everyday Politics of Educational Reform in Myanmar/Burma,” paper presented to Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting 2011, Session 187, Everyday Politics in Burma, March 31, 2011.

“November 7: Point of Departure or Dead End?” to seminar on “Myanmar/Burma at a Crossroads: Post-Election Scenarios and Options,” Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, October 27, 2010.

“Asking the Wrong Questions: Military Dominance in Burmese Politics,” to the Network for Asia Studies, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo (Norway), October 22, 2010.

“The 2010 Election in Burma/Myanmar in Historical Perspective,” to the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI), with introduction by Jan Egeland, Oslo, Norway, October 20, 2010.

“US Public Diplomacy in Myanmar/Burma: Many Activities, Few Achievements,” to conference on Engaging Intensely Adversarial States: The Strategic Limits and Potential of Public Diplomacy in US National Security Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, August 20, 2010.

“Analogical Thinking on Military Rule in Burma: A Preliminary Analysis of Cognitive and Political Deadlock,” to International Academic Symposium on the Myanmar in 2010 and Beyond, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, June 24, 2010.

“The Endurance of Military Rule in Burma/Myanmar: Not Why, But Why Not?” to Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, May 25, 2010.

“Burma’s Ethnic Minorities in the 2010 Election,” Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, March 21, 2010.

“Humanitarian Need and OECD-DAC Assistance in Myanmar on the Eve of Cyclone Nargis,” to Conference on Political Development and New Challenges for International Relations in Southeast Asia, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Yunnan University, July 21-23, 2009.

“U.S. Policy Toward Burma,” to Peace Builders Workshop, Shalom Foundation, Yangon, Burma/Myanmar, 31 October 2008.

“After the Monks: Conflict in Burma in 2008,” presented to the East-West Center Conference on Internal Conflicts and State Building Challenges in Asia, 25-28 March 2008.

“Of Kyay-zu and Kyet-su: The Tatmadaw in 2006,” presented to the 2006 Burma/Myanmar Update Conference, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 17 July 2006.

“All Necessary Instructions: State-Society Relations in the Ethnic Minority States of Burma,” presented to the East-West Center Second Study Group Meeting on Burma, State-Building Challenges in Asia, July 10-11, 2006, Bangkok, Thailand.

"Where is Japan? Founding Myths and the Japanese Occupation in Burma's Defense Services Museum," to Symposium Reconsidering the Japanese Military Occupation of Burma, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan, 10 October 2004.

"Against the Tide: The Survival of Burma's Military State in the Era of Globalization," to International Symposium on Regions in Globalization, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, 25-27 October 2002.

"Temples of Doom: Military Museums in Southeast Asia," Workshop on Art, Media and Violence in Southeast Asia, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 10-11 May 2002.

"Speaking Power to Truth: Military Commemoration in Postwar Burma," delivered to annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Washington, D.C., 5 April 2002.

“Temples of Doom: Military Museums in Indonesia, Thailand and Burma,” to Conference on Mass Political Violence in 20th Century Southeast Asia, University of California, Berkeley, 17 February 2001.

“Burma: From the Inside Looking Out,” to Conference on Strategic Rivalries on the Bay of Bengal: The Burma/Myanmar Nexus, Center for Peace and Security Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 1 February 2001.

“State Formation in the Raj and its Shadow: Burma and India in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” to Conference on Area Studies: Past Experiences and Future Visions, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, 19-21 January 2001.

“Silence No More: Redrawing Boundaries, Rethinking Belonging in Post-Socialist Burma,” to Workshop on Boundaries and Belonging, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 22 September 2000.

“Language Policy in Modern Burma: Fashioning an Official Language, Marginalizing All Others,” to Conference on Language and Conflict in Asia, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 16-18 June 2000.

“Deadlock, Not Dialogue: Why the Burmese Military Will Not Budge,” to the Workshop on Civil-Military Dialogue in Asia, sponsored by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Cebu, Philippines, 18 February 2000.

"Cracks in the Edifice: Military-Society Relations in Burma Since 1988," delivered to the Burma Update 1999 conference, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 5 August 1999.

“Civil-Military Relations in Burma: Soldiers as Statebuilders in the Postcolonial Era,” delivered at State and Soldier in Asia conference, Bangkok, Thailand, 16 April 1999.

“Explaining the Deviant Case: Military Politics in Burma,” delivered at State and Soldier in Asia conference, Honolulu, 26-30 October 1998.

"Portrayals of Power: Military Museums in Thailand and Indonesia,” delivered at the annual Berkeley Conference on Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 28 February 1998.

“The ‘Birth’ Of Military Rule in Burma,” on panel entitled, “The Issue of Order: History, Culture and Politics in Postcolonial Southeast Asia,” delivered at the annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Honolulu, 14 April 1996.

"Political Violence in Burma, 1948-1958," delivered to annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Los Angeles, March 1993.


University Level:
International Political Economy Southeast Asian Politics

International Studies Southeast Asian History

U.S. Foreign Policy Human Rights and Development in Asia

States and Markets Transitions to Democracy

Third World Politics Civil-Military Relations

Human Rights and Humanitarianism The Global Politics of Exile

Other recent short courses:
• Political Prisoners in International and Myanmar Law, to Research Methods Course, September 15, 2012, Myanmar Minerva, Yangon, Myanmar (for recently released political prisoners).

• Civil-Military Relations in Democracies, to Social Science Course, July 7-8, 2012, Myanmar Minerva, Yangon, Myanmar (for recently released political prisoners)

• Civil-Military Relations in Democratic Transitions, to Seminar on Capacity Building in Democratic Transitions, July 3-6, 2012, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (for government servants from eight ministries, including Defence)

• Transitions to Democracy, to Myanmar Egress Summer School, June 24-30, 2012, Yangon, Myanmar (for local NGOs and former political prisoners)

• Ethnic Conflict and Human Rights in Myanmar, to Social Science Course, April 6, 2012, Myanmar Minerva, Yangon, Myanmar (for recently released political prisoners)


2007 U.S. Institute of Peace. Project: “No Longer War, but Not Quite Peace: The Political Economy of Authority in Burma’s Border Regions Since 1988.” Supported research for monograph on the politics of the cessation of civil wars in Burma. $54,948. Successful.

2006 U.S. Department of Education. Project: Funding a Comprehensive National Resource Center in International Studies and Foreign Language and Area Studies Programs (tenure 2006-10), $1.8 million. Successful.

2004 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in collaboration with Indiana University. Project: Creation of Joint Center of Excellence in Behavioral and Social Aspects of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, (2005-2008); $12 million. Unsuccessful.

2004 Henry M. Jackson Foundation, in collaboration with City College, New York. Project: New "Jackson Powell Leadership Program" – a collaborative, semiannual series of workshops designed to produce cutting-edge analysis of world affairs. The series brought together policymakers, practitioners of foreign policy, and scholars to engage and debate issues of pressing concern. The workshop series also introduced highly qualified sophomore and junior undergraduates to the process of collaborative scholarly research and ongoing dialogues on contemporary policy. $20,000 from Jackson Foundation ($45,000 raised at City College, New York). Successful.


2006 Harry Benda Prize, for best first book on Southeast Asia, from Association for Asian Studies

2002 Jackson School Student Service Award (departmental teaching award)

2001 Nominated for Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Washington

1998 Instructional Recognition Award, Naval Postgraduate School

1997 Commendation for Excellence in Teaching (awarded to top five percent of teachers at the Naval Postgraduate School)

1997 Lauriston Sharp Prize for Outstanding Dissertation on Southeast Asia, Cornell University

1982 Phi Beta Kappa, elected to membership

1982 Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, elected to membership


Association for Asian Studies, Southeast Asia Council Member, elected 2000, to serve 2001-2004. Elected chair, 2003-2004.

Burma Studies Group President, elected 2002, to serve from 2003-2005.


The Carter Center Delivered briefing on political context of November 2010 elections in Burma. Provided guidance and advice for delegation entering Burma for 2012 by-election.

Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR), Naval Postgraduate School As CCMR Regional Director for Asia (1996-1999) and Africa (1996-1997), implemented democracy promotion programs under the auspices of the Expanded-International Military Education and Training (E-IMET) initiative. Developed marketing plans to expand CCMR operations into the Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa regions. Recruited faculty for Asia and Africa short courses. Organized and executed short courses on Civil-Military Relations in Transitional Societies in Cambodia, Chad, Congo, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Developed (E-IMET) programs to be carried out in the Philippines and Thailand. Also organized civil-military program in South Korea to be jointly conducted with 351st U.S. Army Civil Affairs Command. Recruited African and Asian M.A. and senior course students for Naval Postgraduate School in-residence programs.
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (Geneva) Presented briefing to U.N. Secretary General Special Rapporteur on Burma and U.N. Rapporteur on Human Rights for Burma, 2-3 September 2004.

Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum Served on panel of experts for senior United Nations briefing on Burma, 12 September 2003; 21 April 2006; 24 August 2006.
Department for International Development Assessed the impact of DFID’s Country Plan, 2004-2007, a path-breaking approach to providing foreign assistance to Burma, one of the most aid-starved countries in the world. Made recommendations to guide greatly increased funding for poverty reduction, progress toward the MDGs and the protection of human rights for subsequent Country Plan. Completed March 2007.

Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA, Sweden) Prepared paper, “Deadlock, Not Dialogue: Why the Burmese Military Will Not Budge,” for the Workshop on Civil-Military Dialogue in Asia, Cebu, Philippines, February 2000.
Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) As faculty member (1995-1999), advised 41 master’s theses. Served as department representative to the Academic Council. Served as member of committee to prepare NPS self-study report for Western Accreditation Task Force.

National Democratic Institute
Participated in Partnership for Democratic Governance and Security; prepared paper, "Civil-Military Relations in Indonesia: Reformasi and Beyond," for publication in Partnership Series, September 1999.

Population Services International, Myanmar Researched the political history of PSI/Myanmar’s operations in social franchising healthcare. Prepared report and briefed staff on findings. Completed in 2011.

Shalom Foundation Myanmar Member, Board of International Advisors, 2007-now.

United Nations:
Invited to serve as moderator of 14-nation dialogue on how to end the political deadlock in Burma, March 2000, Seoul, Korea; presented regular briefings on Burma issues to UN staff, special envoys and rapporteurs, 2000-2012.

US Agency for International Development Prepared report for USAID Administrator and other staff as the agency reconfigured its assistance to Burma in light of political changes after 2010. Completed in February 2012.

World Peace Foundation Participated in 1997 workshop on democratic reform in Burma.


14-17 April 2005 and late Sept. 2005 Building Democracy. In collaboration with City College of New York, I organized a two-part series of workshops that bring academics and policy experts together to analyze democracy-promotion policies around the world. The workshops produced a special issue under submission to the journal Democratization.

4-5 May 2001 Workshop on Militaries in Democratic Reform Processes. I organized a two-day workshop to bring together eleven scholars with expertise on the role of militaries in democratic reform processes in Asia, Europe, Central America and South America. This project investigated how democratic civilian supremacy over militaries has been negotiated (or not), carried out (or not) and sustained (or not).

13-16 September 1998 Forum on Civil-Military Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region. I served as co-chair along with Richard Wilson of the Asia Foundation. Twenty-six participants attended the conference from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States. Most of these countries were represented by one flag officer (one- or two-star rank) and one civilian expert on security issues, of equivalent rank. The Forum – the first of its kind this region – facilitated a lively dialogue between active-duty military officers and civilian officials working in the security arenas of Asia.


Burmese Fluency in spoken and written language.
French Reading ability.
Spanish Reading ability.