Rebel Politics: a political sociology of armed struggle in Myanmar's borderlands

Hosted by the Department of International Relations

NAB.1.04, New Academic Building


David Brenner

David Brenner

Lecturer in International Relations at Goldsmiths, University of London

Alicia de la Cour Venning

Alicia de la Cour Venning

Researcher at the International State Crime Initiative in the School of Law, Queen Mary’s

Jurgen Haacke

Jurgen Haacke

Associate Professor of International Relations, LSE

Kai Htang Lashi

Kai Htang Lashi

Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the Kachin National Organisation (KNO)

Martin Smith

Martin Smith

Senior advisor to the Transnational Institute


William A Callahan

William A Callahan

Professor of International Relations, LSE

How do the internal politics of rebel movements drive wider dynamics of war and peace in Myanmar's changing borderlands?

The event launches David Brenner's new book Rebel Politics: A Political Sociology of Armed Struggle in Myanmar’s Borderlands (Cornell University Press, 2019) with a roundtable discussion on the changing dynamics of the civil war in Myanmar, one of the most entrenched armed conflicts in the world.

Based on long-term research inside the Kachin and Karen rebellions, Rebel Politics analyses the relations between rebel leaders, their rank-and-file, and local communities in the context of political and geopolitical transformations in Myanmar’s borderlands. Using ethnographic methods and social theory, Rebel Politics provides an insight into the hidden social dynamics and everyday practices of political violence, ethnic conflict and rebel governance. In doing so, the book explains how revolutionary elites capture and lose legitimacy within their own movements and how the internal politics of rebel movements drive wider dynamics of war and peace.

The book launch will feature a roundtable discussion with David Brenner, Alicia de la Cour Venning, Jurgen Haacke, Kai Htang Lashi, Martin Smith. The roundtable will be chaired by William A. Callahan.

David Brenner (@DavBrenner) is Lecturer in International Relations at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work explores the politics of conflict, (in)security and development. He is an alumnus of LSE’s International Relations Department, where he did his PhD.

Alicia de la Cour Venning (@avdelacour) is a researcher at the International State Crime Initiative in the School of Law at Queen Mary’s, University of London. Her PhD thesis explores how armed groups in Myanmar engage with international humanitarian law.

Jürgen Haacke is Associate Professor of International Relations at LSE. His publications include ASEAN’s Diplomatic and Security Culture: Origins, Development, and Prospects and Myanmar’s Foreign Policy: Domestic Influences and International Implications.

Kai Htang Lashi is the spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the Kachin National Organisation (KNO), founded by exile Kachin revolutionaries. The KNO forms a crucial link between the Kachin Diaspora and armed resistance in Myanmar.

Martin Smith is senior advisor to the Transnational Institute. He is author of Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity, Ethnic Groups in Burma: Development, Democracy and Human Rights, and State of Strife: The Dynamics of Ethnic Conflict in Burma.

William A. Callahan (@Bill_Callahan1) is Professor of International Relations at LSE. He is an expert in the international relations of China and Asia. He is also a scholar of visual international politics. His books include China: The Pessoptimist Nation and Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations.

The Department of International Relations (@LSEIRDept) is now in its 92nd year, making it one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.  

Suggested hashtag for this event: #LSERebelPolitics


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ.  LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the events organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. If the event is ticketed, please ensure you get in touch in advance of the ticket release date. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.


Photographs are regularly taken at LSE events both by LSE staff and members of the media. Photographs from events taken by LSE staff are often used on LSE's social media accounts.


Many of the events organised by the Department of International Relations are available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available within a week of the event.

Please check our podcasts webpage for past events.

Twitter and Facebook

Follow the Department of International Relations on Twitter and Facebook to receive notifications on the publications of event podcasts, plus announcement of new events and other interesting information about what is happening in the department.

Wifi access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud.

Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance.

The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead.

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.

Whilst we are hosting this listing, LSE Events does not take responsibility for the running and administration of this event. While we take responsible measures to ensure that accurate information is given here (for instance by checking that the room has been booked) this event is ultimately the responsibility of the organisation presenting the event.