Rural Male Leadership, Religion and the Environment in Thailand’s mid-South, 1920s-1960s – a seminar by Dr. Craig Reynolds (Wed, 16 September 2009)

Speaker: Dr Craig Reynolds (Adjunct Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University)
Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Time: 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

Synopsis
Phantharakratchadet (1898-2006), born in the southern town of Nakorn Sithammarat (Ligor) who had an amazing arrest record and also the reputation as something of a nakleng. Discussion points include the local environment, the arts of self-defence, protection and invulnerability, the hugely remunerative and now collapsed Jatukhamramthep amulet cult, and banditry in southern Thailand just before and after World War II. My aims in this research are 1) to shift historical writing away from the court, the aristocracy and the capital; 2) to study a social setting that is not merely “local” or “peripheral”, because it is an amalgam of elements found throughout the country; 3) to give credit to local historians who are often dismissed by “big shot” academics (nak wichakan phu nam) for being parochial, insufficiently theoretical and disposed to myth-making; 4) to show how tantric practices (saiyasat), policing, banditry and masculinity intersect in the career, exploits and adversaries of Khun Phan. The local setting is sketching in a recent review of the southern Thai encyclopedia.

About the speaker
Craig Reynolds is Adjunct Professor in the College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University. His major publications include Thai Radical Discourse: The Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Southeast Asia Program, repr. 1994), National Identity and its Defenders: Thailand Today (Chiang Mai: Silkworn Books, 2002; rev. ed.), and Seditious Histories: Contesting Thai and Southeast Asian Pasts (Washington: University of Washington Press, 2006). Most recently he edited and introduced a collection of essays by the late O.W. Wolters, Early Southeast Asia: Selected Essays (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2008).