Taylor, Robert H(enry) 1943-
TAYLOR, Robert H(enry) 1943-
PERSONAL: Born March 14, 1943, in Greenville, OH; son of Robert Earl and Mabelle Lucille (Warren) Taylor; divorced; remarried, August 12, 2000; children: (first marriage) Emily Sara, Edwin Daniel. Education: Ohio University, B.A., 1965; Antioch College, M.A., 1967; Cornell University, Ph.D., 1974.
ADDRESSES: Home—13 Baron Close, Friern Village, London N11 3PS, England.
CAREER: Author, political scientist, and educator. Cardozo High School, social studies teacher, (Washington, DC), 1965-67; Wilberforce University, OH, instructor in political science, 1967-69; University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, lecturer in government, 1974-79; University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, lecturer, 1980-1988, senior lecturer in politics, 1988-89, professor of politics, 1989-96, pro-director, 1991-96; University of Buckingham, vice chancellor, 1997-2000.
Foreign and Domestic Consequences of the KMT Intervention in Burma, Cornell University Department of Asian Studies (Ithaca, NY), 1973.
An Undeveloped State: The Study of Modern Burma's Politics, Department of Economics and Political Studies, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (London, England), 1983.
Marxism and Resistance in Burma, 1942-1954: Thein Pe Myint's "Wartime Traveler," Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1984.
The State in Burma, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1987.
(With Mark Hobart) Context, Meaning, and Power in Southeast Asia, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1986.
Handbooks to the Modern World: Asia and the Pacific, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1991.
(And contributor) Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2001.
(And contributor) The Idea of Freedom in Asia and Africa, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2002.
Taylor's work is represented in a number of journals and scholarly publications. Contributor to volumes such as In Search of Southeast Asia: A Modern History, edited by David Joel Steinberg, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1987.
SIDELIGHTS: Robert H. Taylor is a political science educator and author of works on Burma—or Myanmar—Southeast Asia, and the Pacific regions. Born in Greenville, Ohio, in 1943, Taylor attended Ohio University, Antioch College, and Cornell University. An educator throughout his career, Taylor taught social studies at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. before moving on to academic positions in colleges such as Wilberforce University, the University of Sydney, and the University of London. Taylor was first married in 1967 and has one son and one daughter. He remarried in 2000. Since retiring as vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham, Taylor has been writing and serving as a consultant on southeast Asian, particularly Myanmar, affairs.
As a writer and editor, much of Taylor's work has focused on political developments and political history in Burma. In Taylor's 1987 book The State in Burma he presents a volume focusing on issues related to the Burmese state and the whole of Burmese society. The State in Burma, wrote Louis Allen in English Historical Review, "is well nourished from both printed and manuscript sources and interviews, and densely and compactly argued. In spite of the abstract introduction on the definition of the state, the body of the work is in fact a chronologically based political history of modern Burma."
In a book Times Literary Supplement reviewer Aung San Suu Kyi called "Taylor's most competent account of the evolution of politics and State institutions in Burma," Taylor traces Burmese politics through four separate historical periods: Monarchial Burma (pre-1886), Burma under British colonial rule to the Japanese invasion (1826-1942), Burma from the collapse of colonial government to military rule (1942-1962), and Burma under the military regime (1962-1987). Taylor covers issues such as the weaknesses of the precolonial Burmese monarchies; the imposition and eventual resistance to British colonial rule, and the collapse of state power from 1942 to 1962, when a military regime was established. Until 1962, "Taylor argues persuasively, state authority was not genuinely restored," observed Michael Adas in American Historical Review.
In addition to the value of Taylor's examination of the four historical periods in his book, "the specialist's knowledge and analytical insight that Taylor brings to them render this volume the best survey we have to date on the political development of Burma up to the recent crisis of the military regime headed by Ne Win." Adas wrote. Taylor "does much more than provide an able survey; he identifies key theme in each of the stages of Burmese political development and weaves them into a series of general arguments about the process of state formation and maintenance in Burma."
Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule was published in 2001. Edited by Taylor, the book is a collection of papers presented at a conference on Burma held in Bonn, Germany, in 1998. General Ne Win had seized control of Burma in 1962. When he resigned in 1988 during a flurry of protestation against military rule, "many regarded the move as heralding a return to sunnier times, but, thirteen years on, Burma, once the richest nation in South-East Asia, remains mired in poverty under military rule," observed Shelby Tucker in the Times Literary Supplement. Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule "asks what went wrong." Contributors to the book examine issues such as "the causes of economic stagnation and the failure of international efforts to secure change," wrote Kenneth Christie in Survival.
Taylor is "the most thoughtful and credible political scientist of Burma today," wrote Michael Aung-Thwin in Contemporary Southeast Asia; he is a scholar who "exhibits a profound understanding of the country's politics, which allows him to explain, not apologize for, the military's longevity" in that troubled country. Taylor is not optimistic about the creation of democracy in Burma, largely because external and internal influences on Burma are too profound to let democracy bloom and flourish. Rather, he concludes that Burma is almost as isolated now as it was when Ne Win resigned in 1988; progress in the meantime has been minimal. Though Aung-Thwin does not agree with that assessment, "Nevertheless, Taylor's chapter represents the kind of in-depth understanding of modern Burma that is badly needed."
Taylor's editorial attention has also turned to Asia and the Pacific regions. In the two-volume Asia and the Pacific, part of the Handbooks to the Modern World series, Taylor assembles a compendium of economic and political data on topics relevant to Asia. Volume one provides essays on subjects such as economic issues, education, mass media, social services, and recent history, plus biographies of prominent persons and profiles of countries in the region. The volume also includes geographic and population characteristics and comparative statistics. Some critics, such as M. K. Ewing, writing in Choice, remarked that the material in volume one is largely redundant because the same information can be readily found elsewhere. Volume two, however, contains forty-three in-depth articles Ewing considered "the real substance and benefit of this handbook." Covering topics such as "Buddhist economics," "The European Community and Asia," and "Religion and Politics in Asia," the articles "are particularly useful for undergraduates who too frequently receive only a European or North American view" of Asia and the Pacific. Despite reservations about volume one, the second volume "is extremely useful and alone worth the purchase price," Ewing stated. Donald Clay Johnson, writing in Library Journal, remarked that Asia and the Pacific is "well done and undoubtedly will be consulted and read for years to come."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1990, Michael Adas, review of The State in Burma,
Asian Affairs, June, 1989, Willis Combs, review of The State in Burma, pp. 222-223.
Choice, November, 1991, M. K. Ewing, review of Handbooks to the Modern World: Asia and the Pacific, p. 410.
Contemporary Southeast Asia, December, 2001, Michael Aung-Thwin, review of Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule, pp. 579-585.
Economist, February 13, 1988, review of The State in Burma,, pp. 86-87.
English Historical Review, October, 1990, Louis Allen, review of The State in Burma.
Far Eastern Economic Review, April 14, 1988, Bertil Lintner, review of The State in Burma, p. 51.
International Affairs, summer, 1989, Clive Christie, review of The State in Burma, p. 584.
Journal of Asian Studies, November, 1988, Victor Lieberman, review of The State in Burma, pp. 952-953.
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, March, 1987, Louis Allen, review of Marxism and Resistance in Burma, 1942-1945, pp. 157-161.
Library Journal, April 15, 1990, Kenneth W. Berger, review of Asia and the Pacific, pp. 82-83; October 1, 1991, Donald Clay Johnson, review of Asia and the Pacific, p. 88.
Pacific Affairs, spring, 1989, Diane K. Mauzy, review of In Search of Southeast Asia: A Modern History, pp. 131-132; winter, 2001, Maureen Aung-Thwin, review of Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule, pp. 616-617.
RQ, summer, 1992, Tara Lynn Fulton, review of Handbooks to the Modern World: Asia and the Pacific, p. 562.
Survival, autumn, 2001, Kenneth Christie, review of Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule,
Times Literary Supplement, July 8, 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi, review of The State in Burma, p. 752; November 9, 2001, Shelby Tucker, review of Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule, p. 12.
World Today, August-September, 2001, John Bray, "Breaking the Silence," p. 17.*