About Chu

Life through unmascaraed eyes & homes away home


I'm a cultural and linguistic anthropologist in training, feminist, decolonial scholar, and first-gen Burmese-American currently based in Boulder, Colorado. As an ethnographer, I enjoy watching the unfolding stories around me. I take pleasure in having a chance to listen to the whispered exchanges. I attempt to feel the unspoken, but permeating, sentiments in those stories. If the world is, as they say in Burmese, bawa zatkhone (theater-stage of life), all human beings would be storytellers in their own ways and I am merely one who retells them.
Born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar, I am infatuated by the abundance of visual culture in urban political life in my home country. For Myanmar, visual displays and consumption seem to be a dialogic terrain where the nostalgia of the past, the disappointment of the present, and the hope for the future mediate. I hope to capture and tell the stories of those emotions through the window of my eyes and the lens of my camera in my doctoral research.
Fun Fact about me: in my native language Burmese, my first name Chu has three meanings: coin money, floral arabesque (like the ones in the photo above), or stylized lion with a flowing mane. I pick the last meaning because lion with a flowing mane symbolizes, to me, strength, independence, and fierceness, all three qualities I want to emulate!

Social Media Committee Lead
 Department of Anthropology

University of Colorado Boulder

August 2019 - present

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of Linguistics

University of Colorado Boulder

August 2017 - May 2019

Program Director
Literacy Practicum Program

University of Colorado Boulder
August 2017 - May 2019

PhD in Cultural Anthropology
Department of Anthropology

University of Colorado Boulder

August 2017 - May 2023

BA in General Linguistics
Queens College,

City University of New York

September 2015 - May 2017

AA in Secondary Education
LaGuardia Community College,

City University of New York

September 2013 - August 2015


2019 - 2024

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program


Council of American Overseas Research Center Inya Institute Pre-dissertation research Grant

2017 - 2022

University of Colorado Boulder

Diversity, Equity, and Community Fellowship

2020 - 2021

University of Colorado Boulder

CU Engage Arts and Humanities Fellowship


1350 Pleasant St, 233 UCB

Boulder CO 80309



Chu May Paing (2020) In Need of Daughters of Good Lineage: Placing Gender in Myanmar's Buddhist Nationalist Discource. Journal of Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Special Issue.


Chu May Paing (2020) Viral Satire as Public Feeling in Myanmar. In "Pandemic Diaries: Affect and Crisis," Carla Jones (ed). American Ethnologist Website. May 20 2020.


Chu May Paing (2018) To Know a Batha: Family Language Soicalization among Burmese Buddhist Immigrant Families in New York City. Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement 13 (1).

© 2023 By Lion with a Flowing Mane.

All Myanmar Image Courtesy by Chu May Paing.