Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm
640 Stewart Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
"The Crown and the Capitalists: The ethnic Chinese, extraterritoriality, and the founding of the Thai nation"
Wasana Wongsurawat, Assistant Professor of Chinese History and Director of Thai Studies, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
Wasana Wongsurawat's The Crown and the Capitalists: The Ethnic Chinese, Extraterritoriality, and the Founding of the Thai Nation is a study of the history of the transnational network of the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia and their fundamental role and influence in the development of nation and nationalism across the South China Sea. This book, which covers a significant portion of the modern era—from the height of the colonial era in the 19th century to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975—investigates the ethnic Chinese as trade agents of both colonial powers and the one marginally independent Southeast Asian kingdom of Siam, the driving force of modernity and modern capitalism in Southeast Asia, and the raison d’être of the invention of royalist nationalism in Thailand. Refuting the commonplace assumption that Thai nationhood was solely built over and against the Chinese, the book investigates also the ways in which structures of power in the country were inextricably connected with the rise and influence of powerful Chinese business tycoons, politicians, and civil servants. In the course, the book also revises notions of the role and agency of the colonial in Asia. It is the first book to write the history of a Southeast Asian nation through central reliance on Chinese sources, rather than sources in the local language or in European languages.