Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

14. Juli: TALK by Peleggi: Prehistory and the Cold War: American Archaeology in Neocolonial Thailand

Talk by Maurizio Peleggi (Faculty of History, National University of Singapore)
  • Wann 14.07.2016 von 16:00 bis 18:00
  • Wo Room 117
  • iCal


The discovery and excavation by American archaeological teams during the 1960s and early 1970s of several Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in north and northeastern Thailand, the best known of which is the World Heritage Site of Ban Chiang, represented a major breakthrough in Southeast Asian archaeology, for the finds contradicted colonial scholarship’s view of the region as a cultural backwater that owed its advancement to India and China. Subsequently, Ban Chiang was at the center of a major archaeological debate about the beginnings of world metallurgy. Still ongoing, this debate has obscured the fact that these excavations occurred at the time when Thailand’s Northeast was thoroughly militarized to provide frontline facilities in the Vietnam War.
This talk shall discuss the production of knowledge on Thailand’s prehistory in relation to the Cold War politics, and specifically the neocolonial relation of dependence that bounded the Kingdom to the United States.


Maurizio Peleggi (Dept of History, National University of Singapore) has published widely on the art and cultural history of modern Thailand, including the books Lords of Things (2002) and Thailand the Worldly Kingdom (2007), and as editor, A Sarong for Clio: Essays on the Intellectual and Cultural History of Thailand (2015). His new book, Monastery, Monument, Museum: Sites and Artifacts of Thai Cultural Memory, is forthcoming from the University of Hawaii Press.