(Re)assembling the Moments of Thai-European Encounters in History


Single Panel

Time & Location

Session 10
Fri 11:00–12:30 Room 1.403



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The Thai-European encounters have been viewed as historical events subjected to certain discourses. The encounters themselves have been considered under discursive practices conditioned by human agencies. While this approach may have helped clear-up the confusion on the “ambiguous” appearance of the modern Thai self, it has not explained much the material aspects of the moments of encounters. When the Thai agents encounter Europe, what kind of social order and relation is re-created, and how does this newly created social order and relation affect the state of being of the Thai agent? The papers presented in this panel propose to re-evaluate the conceptual status of the Thai-European encounters in history by examining the historical events from the ontological point of view focusing on the material relations and organisations. The papers draw on differing accounts starting at the beginning of the 20th century, when Siamese authorities and Intelligentsias travelled to Europe with the explicit goal of establishing state relations, and receiving western educations, to the Cold War era when a group of new Thai middle class came to Europe as students and as political exiles, and to the more contemporary religious encounters and the globally migrating working class. Through these various historical moments and various contexts of Thai-European encounters, the panel hopes to create a new critical lens that can be used to understand the cultural encounters in the broader area of Southeast Asian studies.