Monarchy, Nation-Building and Struggle in Thailand: Past, Present and Future?


About the Seminar

Thailand’s monarchy had a central place in the history of the country’s “nation-building” in the post-1945 era. The Thai elite’s apparent ability to integrate the country’s diverse population and cultivation of a national pride marked by tolerance also defined that era—an era that coincided with most of the long reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. These accomplishments served as the bases for growing prosperity and an image of national success.

King Bhumibol’s reign had strong parallels with that of his grandfather King Chulalongkorn. These parallels extend to the aftermaths of the two kings’ reigns. Today, the spectre of authoritarianism—along with urban-rural and class divisions, and challenges to Thailand’s benign image—defines many aspects of the country’s affairs.

About the Speaker

Charnvit Kasetsiri is one of Thailand’s most distinguished historians, a former rector of Thammasat University, and a pioneer in the promotion of the study of Southeast Asia in the region. He is the author, most recently, of Thailand: A Struggle for the Nation (2022).

About the Discussants

Allen Hicken is Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and a visiting scholar in the School of Social Sciences of the Singapore Management University. He is the author of Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies (2009) and co-editor of Mobilizing for Election: Patronage and Political Machines in Southeast Asia (2022).

Matthew Reeder is Assistant Professor of History at National University of Singapore, with a joint appointment at Yale-NUS College. He is working on a book manuscript treating ethnicity and politics in early modern Siam (Thailand).


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.


Dec 12 2022


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 1 & 2 / Webinar