Thai-Malay Relations in Southern Thailand: Beyond the Conflict Narrative

The third edition of CFAF (CRCS Friday Afternoon Forum) will be held on Friday, October 5, 2007, at 15:00-16:30, in Graduate School Building, third floor, room 306, Gadjah Mada University. The key speaker in the discussion will be Philip King, PhD. The theme in the discussion will be ?Thai-Malay Relations in Southern Thailand: Beyond the Conflict Narrative?.

News reports from the fourth southern provinces of Thailand seem to be a solemn reminder of the dismal state of inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations in southern Thailand. After the relatively positive decade of the 1990’s, the current conflict has served to revive mainstream Thai-Buddhist suspicions of the Malay south, a feeling that is reciprocated by large portions of southern Malays who have lived under martial law for a number of years.

Conflict, particularly inter-ethno/ religious conflict, has long been the dominant narrative of southern Thai history. The purpose of this discussion paper is to move outside of this conflict narrative and consider contrary examples of religious tolerance, dialogue, and a rich culture of plurality rather than duality in southern Thailand.

Key themes to be considered during this discussion include:

  • History as a conflict narrative or historiography as ideology
  • The intrinsic vs. instrumentalist nature of ethno-religious identity in Thailand?s south
  • Civil society as a neutral setting or space for inter-religious dialogue

Below is short description about the speaker.

Since 2005 Phil has served as the Resident Director of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies in Yogyakarta. Prior to this posting he lectured in Southeast Asian history and politics at both the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong. In 2005 Phil completed his PhD in Southeast Asian History with the University of Wollongong, titled From Periphery to Centre?Shaping the History of the Central Peninsula. He is the author of a number of articles on southern Thai/northern Malaysian history and politics.



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