IP Publishing logo IP Publishing Ltd
South East Asia Research cover South East Asia Research logo South East Asia Research cover

A commitment to new and innovative work on South East Asia.

ISSN 0967-828X (print); 2043-6874 (online)

Editor: Dr Rachel Harrison,
Dept of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia, SOAS, University Of London

This journal is covered by Thomson Reuters in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, and Current Contents/Arts & Humanities.

This journal is indexed in Scopus

Download the journal brochure

Recommend this journal to your library

Publication ethics and publication malpractice

Increase exposure of your paper

Clockss logo

Other Sites Of Interest:

AAS Association of Asian Studies

ASEASUK Association of South-East Asian Studies

Cornell University Publications: Southeast Asia Program


Lontar Foundation

Royal Asiatic Society

SEARC Southeast Asia Research Centre

SEAS Society for South-East Asian Studies

SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

Editorial coverage

Published quarterly by IP Publishing on behalf of SOAS. South East Asia Research includes papers on all aspects of South East Asia within the disciplines of archaeology, art history, economics, geography, history, language and literature, law, music, political science, social anthropology and religious studies. Papers are based on original research or field work.

SOAS is the leading centre in this field in Europe and one of the most prestigious centres of South East Asian studies in the world.

Submissions - Notes for authors

Please send papers to Dr Rachel Harrison, Dept of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, UK. E-mail: rh6(at)soas.ac.uk.

Length and presentation of contributions

Papers may be submitted as e-mail attachments in Word or in hard copy. The text should be double-spaced and, for hard copy submissions, an electronic copy in Word should also be supplied on a disk or CD. Papers should be in the range of 6,000-8,000 words long.

The title page should contain the full names and addresses of the authors, their professional status or affiliation and the mailing address to which correspondence should be sent. As this page will not be forwarded to referees, the title of the article (without author names) should be repeated on the first page of the text.

An abstract should be provided, comprising 100-150 words. Between 3 and 6 keywords should appear below the abstract, highlighting the main topics of the paper. The text should be organized under appropriate cross-headings (not numbered paragraphs).

A citation should preferably be by footnote, but the Harvard system may be used. The following style should be applied to references:

  • Books:Peter Zinoman (2001), The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862-1940, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  • Journal articles: Martin van Bruinessen (2002), 'Genealogies of Islamic radicalism in post-Suharto Indonesia', South East Asia Research, Vol 10, No 2, pp 117-154.

If the Harvard system is used, the author's surname should appear first (Zinoman, Peter) and textual citation should take the form '(Zinoman, 1990)'. For textual citations, where there are two authors please use the word 'and', not the ampersand (thus: '(Smith and Jones, 2012)'. Where there are more than two authors, please use the first-named author only, followed by 'et al' in italics (thus: Smith et al, 2012).

In the case of a reference in a footnote to a work already cited, the note in which the full citation is given should be stated, with the use of 'supra': for example, 'Zinoman, supra note 9, at p 90'.

Tables and illustrations should be presented on separate pages at the end of the text: they will be placed as close as possible to the first textual reference to them.

South East Asia Research uses British spelling throughout (thus 'colour' not 'color'), with the '-ize' verb suffix (thus 'organize' not 'organise').

Prior Publication

Articles are received on the understanding that they are original contributions, and have not been published officially, either in print or electronic form, or submitted for publication elsewhere. In this respect, ‘discussion’ or ‘working’ papers, conference presentations and proceedings are not considered to be official publications, unless they have been formally deemed so by conference organizers, or presented as edited works through recognized publishing channels. If in doubt, authors are asked to draw the attention of the Editor to any prior dissemination of the paper in their letter of submission. Please note that articles should not be posted on personal Websites or social networking sites before or after submission.


 All papers submitted for publication are subject to a 'double blind' review; that is, the anonymity of both author and referees is maintained throughout the reviewing process.

Author Checklist for Final versions

Editorial Board

  • Editor: Dr Rachel Harrison, Dept of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, UK.
    E-mail: rh6(at)soas.ac.uk
  • Regional Editor: Professor Tony Day, Independent Scholar, Singapore, and CT, USA.
    E-mail: samdayweiss(at)gmail.com
  • Book Reviews Editor: Dr Ben Murtagh, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, SOAS, London, UK. E-mail: bm10(at)soas.ac.uk.

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Professor Peter Boomgaard
    KITLV, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Professor Anne Booth
    SOAS, University of London, UK
  • Professor Chua Beng Huat
    National University of Singapore
  • Dr Angela Chiu
    SOAS, UK
  • Professor Michael Herzfeld
    Harvard University, USA
  • Dr Mark Johnson
    University of Hull, UK
  • Professor Benedict J. Kerkvliet
    Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Professor V.T. King
    University of Leeds, UK
  • Dr Gerry van Klinken
    KITLV, The Netherlands
  • Dr Joseph Chinyong Liow
    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Dr Tamara Loos,
    Cornell University, USA
  • Dr Michael J. Montesano
    Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
  • Dr Pavida Pananond
    Thammasat University, Thailand
  • Professor Michael G. Peletz
    Emory University, USA
  • Professor Bambang Purwanto
    Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • Professor Vicente L. Rafael
    University of Washington, USA
  • Dr Kostas Retsikas
    SOAS, UK
  • Professor J.D. Rigg
    National University of Singapore
  • Dr Mandy Sadan
    SOAS, UK
  • Professor Henk Schulte Nordholt
    KITLV, Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Professor John T. Sidel
    London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  • Dr Thitinan Pongsudhirak
    Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  • Professor Thongchai Winichakul
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Dr Ben Tran
    Vanderbilt University, USA
  • Dr Sarah Weiss
    Yale-NUS College, Singapore
  • Dr Jack Yeager
    Louisiana State University, USA
  • Professor Peter Zinoman
    University of California at Berkeley, USA

December 2015 issue (VOL 23, NO 4)


Book reviews

581 A History of the Vietnamese, by K.W. Taylor
(reviewed by Bradley Camp Davis)
584 Modern Thai Buddhism and Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu: A Social History, by Tomomi Ito
(reviewed by Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes)
586 The Limits of Alignment: Southeast Asia and the Great Powers Since 1975, by John D. Ciorciari
(reviewed by Matthew Philipps)

589 Index to Volume 23, 2015

The spectre of modernity and the modern spectre

Title: The spectre of modernity and the modern spectre

Author(s): Chusak Pattarakulvanit

Abstract: This article re-examines the significance of Senee Saowaphong’s canonical Thai novel Peesart (The Spectre) in two key ways: by locating this work in the context of the rapid economic and social changes that took place in Thailand after the Second World War, and by identifying the modernist impulse as an underlying novelistic structure that forms and informs the clashes between the aristocrats and the commoners and between the urban and the rural. Employing Bhabha’s concept of hybridity and Anderson’s double provincialism, the article rereads the novel’s protagonist, Sai Seema, an iconic hero of the 1970s Thai student movement, as a hybrid figure. It is the ambivalence and undecidability of this character that destabilizes and subverts the power and authority of Bangkok elites in the text.

Read the full article here

Title: Colonial lords and subjects: uncovering semicolonialism in Lao Khamhom’s ‘Dust Underfoot’

Author(s): Ram Prasansak

Abstract: This paper exposes colonial remnants in modern-day Thailand through a postcolonial materialist analysis of Lao Khamhom’s ‘Dust Underfoot’. Revolving around the conflict between a minor member of the Bangkok royalty and a Khmu forest worker in northern Thailand, this short story sheds light on Siam’s semicolonial conditions created at the turn of the nineteenth century. Though nominally independent, Siam was subject to the capitalist world economy. This was clearly discernible in the British-dominated teak industry in the North. Siam, however, was not so much a victim as a collaborator and beneficiary of colonial capitalism. The Siamese monarchy sustained British capital by recruiting Khmu ethnic subjects into an exploitable labour force for timber production. This collaboration with the British enabled the monarchy to consolidate its economic, political and cultural power over its population. ‘Dust Underfoot’ underscores Siam’s colonial legacies by critiquing the continued exploitation of the Khmu and other lumbermen by the emerging Thai sakdina-turned- bourgeois class in the 1950s. Following in the footsteps of the West, these royal elites viewed themselves as civilized rulers lording it over their ‘savage’ subjects. This paper also discusses the story as a seditious challenge to the hegemonic Buddhist ‘god–king’ discourse and translational process that underpins the foundation of the rule of the Thai monarchy.

Read the full article here

Title: Re-narrating a local myth, reproducing the Thai ‘royalist–nationalist’ narrative: ‘The Myth of Sao Hai’ by Daen-arun Saengthong

Author(s): Wanrug Suwanwattana

Abstract: This analysis of ‘The Myth of Sao Hai’, a short story by the contemporary Thai author Daen-arun Saengthong, focuses on the transformative act of translating an oral provincial myth into written literary form. ‘The Myth of Sao Hai’ depicts the sacrifice for the ‘nation’ of a female spirit inhabiting a millennial tree in a remote part of the jungle. The contention in this paper is that the myth, as re-narrated by Daen-arun, reveals the problematic conditions under which peripheral voices are constantly relegated to a subaltern position in relation to the centre. These are the same conditions under which Thailand’s local history has been written: that is to say, under and through a hegemonic ‘royalist–nationalist’ history. However, through an analysis of ‘ironic fissure’ – that is, of dissident voices which disrupt the narrative homogeneity – the paper argues that the relationship between the national and the local is not mirrored in a fixed binary opposition of oppression and subordination. Rather, the relationship is marked by ambivalence, an ambivalence that is crucial to the possibility of the writing and the ‘narration’ of both.

Read the full article here

Title: ‘Fun, games and gains’ in Bangkok Unlicensed Guide: Thai (male)–farang (female) sexual encounters in 1970s semi-fiction

Author(s): Janit Feangfu

Abstract: This article investigates cross-cultural encounters from the point of view of a local man who tries to gain the upper hand in power negotiations in the context of tourism. Through titillating narratives, he constructs ‘white women’ as ‘loose’, a stereotype which remains prevalent in Thai male perceptions of Western women in the twenty-first century. The article looks at selected semi-fiction from the 1972 collection Kai-phi Bangkok chut 1 (Bangkok Unlicensed Guide Collection 1) by Ta Tha- it in its capacity as a representative of the ‘lowbrow’ genre of ‘male writing for male reading’. Exploring the narratives of sexual encounters between a local tour guide and Western women, it examines the sexualization of the farang (Western) body as a strategy for ‘fun, games and gains’ in cross-cultural sexual encounters. In the three stories discussed, the sexualized farang bodies turn out to be homosexual, masochistic and aged respectively, while the Thai body is hetero-normative, young and virile. The entire collection from which this analysis is drawn was composed in the 1970s against the backdrop of Cold War Thailand as an emerging tourist destination for US soldiers in Indochina and of the rise of international tourism in Thailand.

Read the full article here

Title: For the love of the mother(land): psychoanalysis and nationalism in two Thai novels by Thommayanti

Author(s): Thosaeng Chaochuti

Abstract: For the past three decades, nationalism has been a topic of great interest among scholars in the field of Thai Studies. Most of these scholars have, however, neglected the issue of gender in their examination of Thai nationalism. This article addresses this oversight by examining Thawiphop (Two Worlds) and Khu kam (Sunset on the Chao Phraya), two of the most popular novels by Thommayanti. As a well known nationalist and self-proclaimed feminist, Thommayanti has united the topics of gender and nationalism in these two works by representing female protagonists who strive to play an active role in the nationalist effort. Close examination reveals, however, that the nationalism of both protagonists is based on the psychoanalytic structure of the family romance that ultimately leads to a subversion of their agency. Thus, despite Thommayanti’s attempt to depict strong and independent women in her novels, her characters ultimately fall short of transcending their subordinate roles in the discourse of nationalism.

Read the full article here

Title: Between stigma and star: women in Thai and Korean literature

Author(s): Keunhye Shin and Myengkyo Seo

Abstract: In a hierarchical society, literature provides a window on the way in which culture governs the social – and sometimes political – construction of women’s fidelity. This article explores how fidelity is socially embodied, regenerated and even imagined in literature by analysing two literary epics, Khun Chang Khun Phaen from Thailand and Chun Hyang Jeon from Korea. In analysing the two works side by side, the study examines the interplay between women and ruling ideologies. Focusing in particular on the heroines of the works, the authors assess why Wanthong, the heroine of Khun Chang Khun Phaen, is stigmatized as unfaithful in Thailand, whereas Chunhyang, the heroine of Chun Hyang Jeon, is a star and role model for righteous women in Korea.

Read the full article here

Title: Fiction and social consciousness in interwar Siam: Thai elite culture in crisis and transition

Author(s): Arjun Subrahmanyan

Abstract: This article examines representations of Thai society in fiction during the 1920s and 1930s. Initially the hobby of palace writers and readers, by the 1930s the evolving form had come to be widely popular with middle-class commoners. The rise of middle-class society was of profound importance in the interwar period: far beyond constituting a new reading and writing public, social and economic change undermined the political power of the old elite, and in 1932 a bureaucratic coup toppled the absolute monarchy. But the ‘revolution’, as it came to be known, was incomplete; the growth of new social classes and democratic ideas did not produce a new society. Nor, as this article demonstrates, did it destroy the cultural power of the old elite. The royal–aristocratic class remained cultural icons, and this is clearly shown in the new genre of realistic fiction that appeared. Royalist culture, an enduring aspect of twentieth century Thai history, maintained its power through a period of crisis largely because of its adaptation to changed circumstances.

Read the full article here

Copyright 2016 IP Publishing Ltd.