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Ambiguous Allure of the West: Traces of the Colonial in Thailand

Ambiguous Allure of the West: Traces of the Colonial in Thailand
Rachel V. Harrison & Peter A. Jackson, eds.
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The Ambiguous Allure of the West is copublished with Hong Kong University Press. As such, SEAP may only sell this book to North American customers. Orders for this book originating outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico must be directed to:

Hong Kong University Press

14/F Hing Wai Centre

7 Tin Wan Praya Road

Aberdeen, Hong Kong

This volume examines the impact of Western imperialism on Thai cultural development from the 1850s to the present, and highlights the value of postcolonial analysis for studying the ambiguities, inventions, and accommodations with the West that continue to enrich Thai culture.Since the mid-nineteenth century, Thais have adopted and adapted aspects of Western culture and practice in an ongoing relationship that may be characterized as semicolonial. As they have done so, the notions of what constitutes “Thainess” have been inflected by Western influence in complex and ambiguous ways, producing nuanced, hybridized Thai identities. The Ambiguous Allure of the West brings together Thai and Western scholars of history, anthropology, film, and literary and cultural studies to analyze how the protean Thai self has been shaped by the traces of the colonial Western Other. Thus, the book draws the study of Siam/Thailand into the critical field of postcolonial theory, expanding the potential of Thai Studies to contribute to wider debates in the region and in the disciplines of cultural studies and critical theory.


Rachel V. Harrison is Senior Lecturer in Thai Cultural Studies at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London. She has published widely on issues of gender, sexuality, modern literature, and cinema in Thailand. Her research interest in comparative literature has led her to further focus on the relationship of critical theory to an understanding of contemporary Thai cultural studies.

Peter A. Jackson, PhD, is Senior Fellow in Thai History at the AustralianNational University in Canberra, where he specializes in the histories of Buddhism, gender, sexuality, and globalization in modern Thailand. He is a co-founder of the AsiaPacifiQueer Network, a collaborating general editor of the Hong Kong University Press “Queer Asia” monograph series, and editor-in-chief of the Asian Studies Review.

Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History and South Asian Studies at the University of Chicago.

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