Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand by Tamara LoosSubject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand by Tamara Loos

Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand

byTamara Loos

Hardcover | January 5, 2006

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Unlike its Southeast Asian neighbors, Thailand was never colonized by an imperial power. However, Siam (as Thailand was called until 1939) shared a great deal in common with both colonized states and imperial powers: its sovereignty was qualified by imperial nations while domestically its leaders pursued European colonial strategies of juridical control in the Muslim south. The creation of family law and courts in that region and in Siam proper most clearly manifests Siam's dualistic position. Demonstrating the centrality of gender relations, law, and Siam's Malay Muslims to the history of modern Thailand, Subject Siam examines the structures and social history of jurisprudence to gain insight into Siam's unique position within Southeast Asian history. Tamara Loos elaborates on the processes of modernity through an in-depth study of hundreds of court cases involving polygyny, marriage, divorce, rape, and inheritance adjudicated between the 1850s and 1930s. Most important, this study of Siam offers a novel approach to the question of modernity precisely because Siam was not colonized yet was subject to transnational discourses and symbols of modernity. In Siam, Loos finds, the language of modernity was not associated with a foreign, colonial overlord, so it could be deployed both by elites who favored continuation of existing domestic hierarchies and by those advocating political and social change.
Tamara Loos is Associate Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand and Bones around My Neck: The Life and Exile of a Prince Provocateur, both from Cornell.
Title:Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in ThailandFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.3 inPublished:January 5, 2006Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801443938

ISBN - 13:9780801443930

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Editorial Reviews

"This book breaks new ground in the field of Thai history. The close links between the creation of modern legal codes and institutions and the drastic changes in the discourses on gender and family are previously unexplored and unexpected. Tamara Loos demonstrates the idea of an alternative modernity that is clearly gendered. The condition under which these changes took place—the 'semi-imperial, semi-colonial' Siamese state—is a fascinating one."—Thongchai Winichakul, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Siam Mapped