Preah Vihear or Phra Viharn?: Notes from a Troubled Border – a seminar by Dr. Peter Vail (Wed, 15 September 2010)

Speaker: Dr Peter Vail (University Scholars Programme, NUS)
Date: Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Time: 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

Synopsis
For more than 50 years, Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads over the Preah Vihear Temple and its surrounding territory. The dispute has periodically become violent, most recently in 2008 when Cambodia (successfully) petitioned to have the temple listed as a World Heritage Site with UNESCO. This talk will discuss some of the more salient points of the conflict – e.g. its root causes, and Thailand’s stubborn insistence on a bilateral solution – as well as some of its more subtle dimensions, especially as they pertain to local and national identity politics in both Thailand and Cambodia.

About the speaker
Peter Vail teaches in the University Scholars Programme at NUS. He completed his PhD at Cornell U in Anthropology, and a subsequent MS in Linguistics from Georgetown U. Before coming to NUS, he taught for several years at Ubon Ratchathani University in NE Thailand, not far from the Thai-Cambodia border. He has worked on issues of language shift among Khmer speakers in Thailand, discourse and power in rural Isan, and Muay Thai. He recently completed an eight-month project, funded by the Thai Research Fund, examining border relations and Cambodian views of Thailand.