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Course Syllabus Thai Studies Pridi Banomyong International College Thammasat University Course:

PD223 Society and Culture of Thailand (3 credits – 45 hours)

Class time:

09.00 – 12.00 (3 hours)

Class Room:

PBIC 201


Ajarn Akkharaphong Khumkhun ( Ajarn Kane Witoonchart (

Course Description Thai society and culture as investigated in diverse anthropological methods, using case studies from various researches by Thai and international academics, emphasizing analytical, and critical approaches. Objectives 1. To explore the diversity of Thai society and culture from culturalist approach 2. To emphasize the comprehension of Thai society through arts and culture 3. To study the changes and transformations of Thai society and culture in a time of Globalization Grading Class Attendance Final Paper Final Examination: A 80% 4.0

B+ 75% 3.5

Percentage of total grade (100%) 20% 30% 50% B 70% 3.0

C+ 65% 2.5

C 60% 2.0

D+ 55% 1.5

D 50% 1.0

F 0-49% 0 1

Final Paper

A 10-15 page report from student’s observation offering your critiques, thoughts, and/or reflection of Thai society and recent development. Hard copy report in APA Style Course Schedule Week 1

Date 29 June

30 June


1 July

2 July

Topic Orientation and Introduction to Siam/Thailand  The Cross Cultural and Social Studies Framework  An Introduction to Thammasat University History Life of Pridi Banomyong – the founder of Thammasat and Thailand’s Democracy General Characteristics of the Society  Pattern of the Past  Unity and Diversity The Land The People  The Economic Base  The Social Structure The Family, Village Community The Temple The Political Community  The Temper of Life  New Currents Movie: Anna and the King, 20th Century Fox, 1999 Readings: ‘Chapter 1: General Characteristics of the Society’ (pp.1-20) in Blanchard, Wendell. Thailand: Its People, Its Society, Its Culture. New Heaven: HRAF Press, 1970. Embree, John F. "Thailand - A Loosely Structured Social System." American Anthropologist 52, no. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1950): 181-193. Visit with on - site lecture: Grand Palace Lecture by Grand Palace Guide Officer and Ajarn Akkharaphong Khumkhun Time: 09.00 – 12.00 hrs. // Assemble at the college office.  Festivals Loy Krathong Songkran  Ceremonies and Customs 2


7 July

The Wai Tam boon at home Khun – an everyday but deep word Wai Kru – paying respect to teachers The wedding ceremony Calling blessing on a new house After someone dies / Placing the bones Buat Nahk – entering the monkhood Phansa – the Buddhist Lent Making Temple Donations/Tod Pa-bpa ceremony/Tod Kathin  Royalty and Nobility Ranks and Title in Thailand Rachasap – the Royal Language What’s in a Thai name/surname? The world’s longest place-name Some sayings and proverbs Readings: Segalle, Denis. Thai Ways. Bangkok: Post Books, 2001. (pp.5-8/15-23/2535/39-81/208-226) Phya Anuman Rahadhon. Introducing Cultural Thailand in Outline. Bangkok: Fine Arts Department, 2001. (pp.4-28) The Social and Cultural Milieus of the Kingdom of Siam/Thailand  General Background and History Development Kinship System Historical Development of Thai Social and Political Organization  Unity and Diversity The Land The People  The Economic Base  The Social Structure The Family and Village Community The Temple The Political Community  The Temper of Life  New Currents Readings: ‘Chapter II: General Background and History Development’ (pp.13-47) in Akin Rabibhadana. The Organization of Thai Society in the Early Bangkok Period 1782-1873. Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing, 1996. 3

8 July

9 July

10 July


14 July

‘Chapter 13: The Thai opening up to the world’ (pp.159-171) in Mulder, Niels. Inside Southeast Asia: Religion, Everyday Life, Cultural Change. Kuala Lumpur: The Pepin Press, 1996. Visit with on – site lecture: Bangkok heritage river Trip Lecture by Ajarn Akkharaphong Khumkhun Time: 09.00 – 12.00 hrs. // Assemble at the college office. Social Organization: Urban Bangkok Social Structure Differences in Rural and Urban Social Structure Qualifications for Class Membership Bangkok Social Structure Class Characteristics Formal Organizations and Associations  Provincial Social Structure  Other Ethnic Society  The Absolutist State The King, the Aristocracy, and Tax Farmers Foundation of Absolutism Resistance to Bangkok’s Expansion Army, Police, Sangha, School, and Nation The Bureaucracy Movie: Me Myself, Mono Film, 2008 Readings: ‘Chapter 20: Social Organization’ (pp.397-420) in Blanchard, Wendell. Thailand: Its People, Its Society, Its Culture. New Heaven: HRAF Press, 1970. Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker. Thailand: Economy and Politics. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 2002. (pp.211-243) Visit with on – site lecture: Ayutthaya Province Lecture by Ajarn Akkharaphong Khumkhun Time: 07.30 – 18.00 hrs. // Assemble at the college office. Thainess and the Otherness  The Two-way Identification of Nationhood  The Positive and Negative Identification of Thainess  Thai Studies  Struggle for Interpretation  Siam as a Cultural Construct  Thai National Identity and Its Defenders Culture Policy and Identity Ethnicity and Identity National Security and Identity 4

15 July

16 July

 Thai Identity in the Age of Globalization Debate about Globalization Vision of the Future Local Knowledge, Local Identity Documentary: From Siam to Thailand: What in a Name? Readings: Thongchai Winichakul. “The Presence of Nationhood,” Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-body of a Nation. Bangkok: Silkworm Books, 2004. (pp.1-19) Anderson, Benedict Richard O’Gorman. ‘Studies of The Thai State, the State of Thai Studies’ (monograph) Reynolds, Craig J. National Identity and Its Defenders: Thailand Today. Chiang Mai: Silworm, 2002. (pp.1-32/308-338) Thailand and the West - First contact - From interaction to domination - Through the eyes of the West Readings: Baker, C. and Phongpaichit, P., A history of Thailand, Cambridge, 2010. Maurizio Peleggi, M., Lords of Things: The Fashioning of the Siamese Monarchy's Modern Image, University of Hawaii Press, 2002. _____________ , The Politics of Ruins and the Business of Nostalgia, Bangkok: White Lotus, 2002. Lockhart, B. The Transformation of Southeast Asia: International Perspectives on Decolonization, 2003. Thanet Aphornsuvan. The West and Siam’s quest for Modernity: Siamese responses to 19th Century American missionaries, South East Asia Research, 17, 3, pp 401 – 431, 2009. Osborne, M., Southeast Asia An Introductory History, Allen and Unwin, 2013. Savage, R. Victor, Western Impressions of Nature and Landscape in Southeast Asia, Singapore University Press, 1984. Gender in Thailand Readings: Butler, J. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of Identity, Routledge, 1990. Morris R. C., Three sexes and four sexualities: Redressing the discourses on gender and sexuality in contemporary Thailand, Positions, 2 (1), 15-43, 1994. Winter S. “Thai transgenders in focus: demographics, transitions and 5

17 - 19 July


21 July

22 July

23 July


27 July

identities”, International journal of transgenderism, 2006. Winter S. Transpeople (Khon Kham-Phet) in Thailand: transprejudice, exclusion, and the presumption of mental illness. In Peter A. Jackson (Ed.), Queer Bangkok: 21st century media, market and rights (pp. 251-267). Hong Kong University Press, 2011. Visit with on – site lecture: Chiang Mai Province Lecture by Ajarn Songyote Waeohongsa/ Ajarn Kane Witoonchart Time: (TBA) //Assemble at the college office. Religious diversity - Multiculturalism & conflicts Readings: Thanet Aphornsuvan. Origin of Malay Muslim “Separatism” in Southern Thailand, Asia Research Institute, University of Singapore, 2014. Sirijit Sunanta. Negotiating with the Center: Diversity and Local Cultures in Thailand. Rights to Culture: Heritage, Language and Community in Thailand Barry, C. (Ed.) Chiangmai: Silkworm, 163-187, 2013. Thai Media & Society -Health in the Thai Media Context *Landscape of the Thai Media *Health Belief in Thailand *Globalization vs Localization of Health (From Biomedical Health Model to Alternative Health Model) *Media and Health in Thailand: An Analysis of Representations and Myths *Film Critic (In class assignment) Readings: Beck, U. (1992), Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, Translated by Ritter, M., London: Sage. Hodkinson, P. (2011), Media, Culture and Society: An Introduction, London: Sage. Seale, C. (2002), Media and Health. London: Sage. * Guest Speaker: Asst. Prof. Dr. Nitida Sangsingkeo Royal Performing Arts Revisit Explore the ongoing production of the Royal “Khon” performance. Based on the classical Indian Epic “Ramayana,” Thai Khon dance drama plays an important role in crafting Thai society, both morally and visually. * Guest Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tawan Sooknoi Workshop of the Royal Khon (4 Teaching Assistants) Thai People and “Rice” Demonstration of how to choose and cook rice in different forms. - The Royal Thai foods and Thai local life through the sophistication and 6

29 July

environmental friendly applied in food and life. Class Activities are: 1) Learning how to carve vegetable and fruit 2. Learning how to fold banana leaf into types of food packages. * Guest Speaker: Ajarn Dr. Niphatchanok Najpinij (2 Teaching Assistants) Final Examination (09.00 – 12.00 hrs.) Room: PBIC 201

Suggested Readings: Anderson, Benedict Richard O’Gorman. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 2006. Cooper, Robert and Nanthapa. Culture Shock! Thailand. Singapore: Times Boioks International, 1990. Cornwel-Smith. Everyday Popular Culture. Bangkok: River Books, 2005. Embree, John F. "Thailand - A Loosely Structured Social System." American Anthropologist 52, no. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1950): 181-193. Nidhi Eoseewong. "Thai Cultural Constitution." Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 3 (March 2003): Srisurang Poolthupya. “Social Change as Seen in Modern Thai Literature,” in Essays on Literature and Society in Southeast Asia: Political and Sociological Perspectives. Tham Seong Chee (ed.), Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1981, pp.206-215 Keyes, Charles F. Thailand: Buddhist Kingdom as Modern Nation State. Bangkok: Editions Duang Kamol, 1981. Cohen, Erik. “Thailand in ‘Touristic Transition’,” in Interconnected Worlds: Tourism in Southeast Asia. Peggy Teo, T.C. Chang and K.C. Ho (eds.), Pergamon, 2001, pp.155-175. Hewison, Kevin. (ed.). Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. McCargo, Duncan, and Ukrist Pathmanand. The Thaksization of Thailand. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2005. Nidhi Eoseewong. Pen and Sail: Literature and History in Early Bangkok. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2005. Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker. A History of Thailand. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Peleggi, Maurizio. Thailand: The Worldly Kingdom. London: Reaktion Books, 2007.


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