Panel 2 - Historiography, Archives, and Text-Making

Friday, Nov. 13, 19:25 - 20:40 (US CST)
Saturday, Nov. 14, 08:25 - 09:40 Thailand

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Matthew Kosuta

Mahidol University

King Naresuan's Victory in Elephant Duel: A Tale of Two Monuments

This paper presents the controversy surrounding the authenticity of two old stupas and the building of two modern monuments in the latter half of the twentieth century to commemorate the late sixteenth-century victory of the Siamese King Naresuan in an elephant duel over the Burmese crown prince of the Toungoo dynasty at the battle of Nong Sarai on 18 January 1593 (the paper is a summary of a published article of the same name). The controversy is well known among a large section of Thai society, yet virtually unknown internationally. Advocates for each stupa, and then for each monument, claim their stupa to be located on the actual geographical site of the elephant duel. The debate split along political and ideological lines with royalists, the military, elites, and the bureaucratic establishment defending the site selected by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, while academics, intellectuals, and members of society at large argued for an alternative site. This paper presents this controversy to the international academic community while adding fresh insights into two main areas of interest: the correlation between periods of open and closed debate on the subject in relation to the type of government ruling Thailand (absolute monarchy, military dictatorship, or democratically elected), and matching the style of the monuments to the political ideology of the Thai ruling class.

Vera Ivanova

Senior Researcher, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Associate Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation

"Nirat Tangkia": on the Way to the Emergence of New Elements in Nirat Poetry

The paper is devoted to “Nirat Tangkia” (“A Journey to Tonkin”) written by Luang Noranetbanchakit in 1887 during his trip to the French protectorate of Tonkin with Siamese emissaries. The paper examines “Nirat Tangkia” as one of the travelogue poems representing a group of poems composed in nirat genre, namely so-called military nirats (poems). The results of the literary analysis of the “Nirat Tangkia” are at the core of the research. The range of issues covered is following: what features of the "true nirat type" (M. Chitakasem's term) was adopted by Luang Noranetbanchakit in his "Nirat Tangkia" (and whether it really was), how the author of this poem mixed the themes of love-longing and separation with a military theme in “Nirat Tangkia”, what are the proportions of each" ingredient "in this mixture, and, finally, what is the content of ‘Nirat Tangkia’ about. Notes, as well as impressions and personal experiences recorded by Luang Noranetbanchakit as "Nirat Tangkia" make this poem not only a valuable source of historical and socio-ethnographic information about the events on the territory of modern Vietnam in the last quarter of the 19th century but also an important link (albeit a small one) in the chain of those transformations that nirat as a genre of literature experienced at that period.

Kwanruan Choosrichom

Chiang Mai University

Gender Representation in English Textbooks at Secondary Level 

In Thailand, female ideology transition was made through education system following Thai tradition for ages. Ideology reproduction happens every day and emphasizes smoothly in children’s way of life starting from family to school. School as a mechanism for ideology incubation has produced both abstract and concrete ideology. These are presented in the instruction from teachers, social relationship and textbooks used in school. The influence of the ideology reflected the superiority of male over female which were found in pictures and contents in textbooks. The textbooks used in school were authorized in core curriculum under control of the state. After doing some researches, there are a lot of studies that cope with masculinity perspective in schools and institutions. However, this study argued that this point of view can be problematic. Intersectionality theory is used to guide the study. The study is a qualitative study that examined representation in English textbooks issued by Ministry of Education. Based on Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the study analyzed a textbook used in compulsory education in The Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008), Ministry of Education. The textbooks were named Spark 1-3 and Upload 4-6 authored by Virginia Evans and Jenny Dooley and published by Aksorn Charoenthat Company Limited. The study points out that both male and female can be valued and valued in multiple identities perspective and also depend on position and status of that person. Moreover, not only gender aspect but there are other aspects that should be focused on such as race, class, nationality, ethnicity, politics, citizenship and other individual characteristics. Those aspects intersect with one another and overlap. Therefore, the cultivation of being male or female with respect via multiple identities for students can create equitable or inclusive society.

Larry Ashmun

Larry and Ginny Judd SEAiT Collection

Larry and Ginny Judd served as Presbyterian missionaries in Thailand from December 1948-1970, during which time he received a PhD from Cornell University in 1961. From 1970 until retiring in 1986, Larry Judd was a professor of sociology and director of the Asian Studies program at Illinois College. He helped inaugurate COTS in 1972 and actively participated for many more years. His best known publication is Chao rai Thai : dry rice farmers in northern Thailand.

The Judds’ Collection of about 1,100 images is the newest to be added to the special Southeast Asian images & Texts (SEAiT) project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their missionary service was primarily in northern Thailand, namely rural development work in Nan Province, 1954-1959, followed by Larry Judd’s being associate director of the new Rural Life Department of the Church of Christ in Thailand, 1961-1970, based in Lampang and later Chiang Mai.

The Collection features rural development and church-related activities as well as a number of Buddhist temples and historical sites. The former include new church dedications, the opening of the Rural Life Department’s Handicraft Center in Lampang in 1965, and the donation of a tractor by Rotary International District 646 (Illinois) in 1968. Two non-northern Thailand historical sites -- Phimai in northeast Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia -- account for about 70 images. A special set of images is of the King and Queen’s first-ever visit to Nan in 1958.

The Judds’ lifelong love of Thailand is clearly evidenced by five return trips starting in 1976 and concluding in 1988.

Related Pre-Recorded Presentations for Panel 2

Anothai Kaewkaen

Washington University

The Snake's New Skin: Re-reading Vanich Charungkitanand's "Mae Bia"

Since its release in 1989, Vanich Charungkitanand's romance thriller "Mae Bia" (famous for its killer cobra) has been subject to a number of nationalistic and socially conservative interpretations, especially in its two cinematic adaptations. Taking cues from gothic literary criticism, this paper reads the novel through post-colonial, feminist, and psychoanalytically-tinged lenses to expose Mae Bia's more subversive potential.

John Hartmann

Northern Illinois University

The Odious Other

I have been reviewing the 2020 annotated translation of the Ayutthaya period Kings in Love: Lilit Phra Lo & Twelve Months by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongppaichit. I was struck by the cultural encoding of the well-known condescension that many urban Thais have held toward “upcountry folk”, khon ban nawk. In particular, I will offer my thoughts on the following stanzas . Time permitting, I will also touch on the “smelly fish” controversy that the linguist William Gedney felt “marked a significant turning point” in Jit Phumisak’s tragic life (Bickner 2002).

“I beg you, make me smile.
Why are upcountry folk like this?
Please take a look at them. (stz.244)

These houses, see, aren’t like our city ones.
The rabble’s dwelling are so badly shaped,
not good to look at, not one bit,
best left alone, not one to live in—such a sight!” (stz.245)

His aides Kaew and Khwan reply:

“O sire, to cool they bathe in cloudy streams.
So poor, they chew on smelly fish.
Sometimes for lust a wench’s a must when lacking else.
Not eating when you crave, how can you live?” (stz.246)

Prateep Chaylee

National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan
The Significance of Chiang Mai in International Biological Studies 1937

This is the historical study with its objective aims to explore the significance of Chiang Mai as a main research site for the international biological studies. Therefore, it found that the first arrival of the Asiatic Primate Expedition was funded by Harvard University in 1937 reflected the fertility of natural resources of northern Thailand in international biological studies since then by opening the main three research sites.

However, the success of this project was not only the support of the various stakeholders of this project. Other than the funding, but the role of American Presbyterian Mission in America and the Princeton alumni network were also the key factors in nurturing this project even it had finished its mission in this site already. Significantly, some of these key researchers at that time were achieved to be leading international biologists and thereafter pioneering the leading organization as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), respectively.

Hollie White
Songphan Choemprayong

Chulalongkorn University

What is the future of Thai Collections in Libraries outside of Thailand?

Thai language collections in libraries outside of Thailand are increasingly becoming harder to find. Library collections outside of Thailand are essential for presenting balanced views of socio-cultural phenomena and, worldwide, libraries are becoming less likely to hire people who have the skills necessary to describe Thai language materials.  This paper reports findings from a study that examines the location and management of Thai language library collections outside of Thailand.  Over 50 Southeast Asia-focused library collections covering all major regions in the world (except South America) were evaluated in relation to contemporary Thai language collections.  Based on these findings a series of interviews were conducted to assess library practices related to collecting, describing, and making available Thai language content to researchers and students, as well as the general public. This paper will present findings about how Thai language content is currently managed that could impact the future accessibility of these materials.  This paper expands on findings from White, H. & Choemprayong, S. (2019). Thai Catalogers’ Use and Perception of Cataloging Standards. Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, 57 (7/8).


Kanjana Thepboriruk, Ph.D., (กัญจนา เทพบริรักษ์)
Chair, NIU Thai Studies Committee

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