Meeting: “Wrestling with Notions about Our Neighbors: Thai-ness & the Thai”.
Tuesday, 08 October 2019.
talk by Herbert Swanson
Drawing on Edward W. Said's notion of Orientalism, Herbert Swanson
will share some thoughts on the related concepts of "Thai-ness" and
"The Thai". How, precisely, do we define these ideas and why do we use
them? What are the marks of Thai-ness? Who are the Thai? The speaker
will explore the possibility of hidden, even nefarious implications to
these two ideas and plans to argue that, in fact, they have no meaning
outside of themselves. They have nothing to do with the real
world of 21st century Chiang Mai and Thailand, generally. Even so, they
do have a certain utility—but not the ones those who talk about
"the Thai" actually intend. Herbert Swanson's goal is to inspire
some thoughtful discussion on how those of us who live here think about
Herbert Swanson is the founding director of the Payap University
Archives (1978-1984) and founding director of the Office of History,
Church of Christ in Thailand (1988-2004). He has an M.A. from the
University of Maryland (1987) and a Ph.D. from the Melbourne College of
Divinity, Melbourne U. (2003). He is an ordained Presbyterian minister,
a member of the Suwanduangrit Church steward of two websites: herbswanson.com (devoted to Thai church history) and orientalismstudies.com (devoted to the study of ideological Orientalism).
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