A View of History, State and Society from the Margins – a seminar by Dr Vatthana Pholsena (Wed, 14 March 2013)

Speaker: Dr Vatthana Pholsena (Research Fellow, IRASEC)
Thursday, 14 March 2013
2:00pm – 4:00pm
AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

This presentation focuses on the district of Sepon in central-southern Laos adjacent to the Vietnamese border. I will be looking at the social and political trajectories of this borderland area’s populations – the Phuthai and the Bru – from colonial times to the post-war era. I will argue that variations in their trajectories provide insights into the larger social and political transformations that underlie the historical and social processes of ‘naturalizing’ power relations and forms of rule, and also shed light on the limits of these processes that generate the phenomenon we call ‘the state’.

About the speaker
Dr. Vatthana Pholsena graduated from the Institut d’études Politiques (School of Political Studies) in Grenoble in south-eastern France in 1997, before moving to the U.K. to pursue her Ph.D. at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hull. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Bangkok-based IRASEC (Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia, jointly funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CNRS) and a visiting affiliate at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies. Her research interests include the process of state formation in borderlands, the biographical approach to social change and identity formation, and the interaction between the past and personal and collective memories.