Thai studies

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Thai Studies, a branch of Asian studies, is an intellectual category used by research universities around the world as a way of bringing together specialists from different disciplines such as history, anthropology, religious studies, political science, Thai language, Thai literature, and musicology who are doing research in these areas in the country of Thailand.

The term sometimes includes research on Tai ethnic groups living outside of Thailand such as the Shan or Tai Lu of Xishuangbanna Prefecture in Yunnan, China as well as ethnic groups such as the Mon who have long inhabited the area of modern-day Thailand.

Probably the first organisation to actively sponsor and promote Thai Studies was the Siam Society under royal patronage, established in 1904.[1] The Siam Society and the affiliated Siamese Heritage Protection Trust[2] maintain an extensive library of Thai studies materials and exhibits.

The Journal of the Siam Society (JSS) is a peer-reviewed academic journal. Open access to PDF digital productions of all issues back to 1904 is available on line.[3]

Currently, the Center for Thai Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand is a thriving center for Thai Studies. The Thailand Information Center (TIC) at Chulalongkorn's main library is a central repository of research materials for Thai Studies.[4]

Cornell University was the first active center for Thai Studies in the United States. In 1947, Lauriston Sharp began the Cornell-Thailand Project, a ground-breaking initiative to collate baseline data in a comprehensive study of what was the a farming village on the outskirts of Bangkok, now Tambon Bang Chan (Thai: บางชัน) in Bangkok's district of Khlong Sam Wa (คลองสามวา). Highly acclaimed historian David K. Wyatt was also a professor at Cornell from 1969 until he retired in 2002.

Outside Thailand, a group of young, active academics at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) has been promoting Thai Studies as a significant research discipline in social studies. The International Journal of Studies in Thai Business, Society & Culture, the inaugural open-access Thai Studies Journal, was launched at RMIT University in 2011. RMIT University also hosts three Thai studies conference in 2001, 2011 and 2014.


  1. ^ Frankfurter, O. (1904). "The Aims of the Society" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Siam Society. 1: 1–6. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Siamese Heritage Protection Program To Commemorate the 84th Royal Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Patron of The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage". by the Siamese Society under Royal Patronage. Siamese Heritage Trust. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013. To commemorate the 84th Royal Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Patron of the Siam Society and protector of fine arts and cultural heritage of Thailand, the Council of the Society approved the establishment of a new program, Siamese Heritage Protection Program, or โครงการพิทักษ์มรดกสยาม in Thai. 
  3. ^ "Siam Society journal now available to all". Bangkok Post. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Thailand Information Center". Office of academic resources. Chulalongkorn University. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013. The Thailand Information Center (TIC) is an academic service and research support unit with an information storage and retrieval facility in the fields of social and behavioral sciences relating to Thailand and Southeast Asian countries. 

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