Matt Venker

Credentials: Myanmar

2017 SKJ Fellow

Matthew Venker is a current PhD student in Cultural Anthropology studying forms of political belonging and legal rights in Myanmar (Burma). Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Matthew studied Chinese and Anthropology at St. Olaf College, where his senior thesis critically analyzed the politics of religious freedom contained within China’s constitution. Following graduation, Matthew spent two years teaching English at a high-needs elementary school in rural Southwestern China as member of the 2012- 2014 Teach for China teachers corp. During this time spent living near the Burmese border, Matthew developed an interest in that country through conversations with his students and their families about their migration experiences between China and Myanmar. Convinced of the need for more research on Myanmar during its political transition away from military rule, Matthew began graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. With the generous support of a Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowship, this summer Matthew will seek to build relationships with local political activists and civil rights organizations while conducting exploratory research on citizens’ rights.

Read Matthew Venker’s fellowship report here.