Micah Morton

Credentials: Thailand

2009 SKJ Fellow

Micah Morton is a third year graduate student in cultural anthropology. He spent 2 years working in Northern Thailand as an instructor and administrator for a study abroad program. Initially interested in working with environmentalist monks, his interests later shifted towards highland minority groups and their ongoing troubles in obtaining full Thai citizenship status and land rights. He is particularly interested in the Akha, an indigenous highland group whose members reside in the adjacent border areas of Myanmar (Burma), China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. During the summer of 2008 Micah met several Akha elite residing in Northern Thailand that are at the forefront of a project to build a stronger, more formal transborder identity in the region. The initial goal of these Akha elite is to develop a unified writing system that can be used by the general Akha population in communicating across the region. The need for a unified written language has arisen as a direct result of the modern political borders that now prevent a majority of Akha from directly migrating throughout the region. This summer, Micah will use his SKJ grant in Northern Thailand where he will continue to work with Akha elite who are involved in efforts to build more formal transborder connections in preparation for future dissertation fieldwork.

Read on about Micah’s fellowship experience here.