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This event is a launch for A History of Ayutthaya: Siam in the Early Modern World
by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, recently published by Cambridge University Press, and a discussion on writing Thailand's history today. Early European visitors counted Ayutthaya alongside China and Indian as the three great power of Asia. Yet the launched book is the first study of the full 400-plus years of the Ayutthaya era. Recently someone has been jailed for allegedly defaming a historical figure who may or may not have existed in the 13th century. Others have been threatened with court cases for suggesting that old Siam had slavery, and for questioning the schoolbook account of a famous battle. How do historians work in this environment? The question is relevant to historians working in Thai or English, inside the country or abroad.
is a historian, long-term resident, and co-author with Pasuk Phongpaichit of A History of Ayutthaya and several other works on Thailand's history, political, economy, and literature.
is the doyen of Thai historians, a former rector of Thammasat University, and a prominent public intellectual. His The Rise of Ayutthaya, written 40 years ago, is a classic.
is a professor at the Australian National University. His essays on Thailand's social and cultural history are some of the only historical studies by foreigners that have been translated into Thai.
, head of the History Department at Chulalongkorn University, studies both Thai and Chinese history and is about to publish The Crown and the Capitalists: The Ethnic Chinese, Extraterritoriality, and the Founding of the Thai Nation.
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
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