Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Reo Matsuzaki


Myanmar has a history of divisive institutions built during the British colonial period and the Japanese occupation. Colonial legacies suggest Myanmar’s enduring ethnic conflict is path dependent, sustained by a self-reproductive system of violence. Yet, wartime disruption and Japanese institution building, as well as later ceasefire politics and limited ethnic defection, challenge theories of path dependency. This thesis compares distinct periods of institution building and the experiences of three ethnic minority groups in Myanmar, revealing a disastrous institutional trajectory that continues to reinforce ethnic conflict. In doing so, this thesis yields key insights to the conditions that precipitate change in the behavioral expression of ethnic identity during conflict.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.