Thongchai Winichakul (Thai: ธงชัย วินิจจะกูล, RTGS: Thongchai Winitchakun), is a Professor of Southeast Asian History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is of Sino-Thai descent. Winichakul has had a major impact on the concept of Thai nationalism. His best-known academic work is his book, Siam Mapped, which critiqued existing theories of Thai historiography. In its Japanese translation, the book won the Grand Prize of the 16th Asian Pacific Awards from the Asian Affairs Research Council. Winichakul was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He is presently the Vice President for the Association for Asian Studies.
Prior to becoming an academic, Thongchai was a student organizer and political activist while still in high school. He became even more involved in pro-democracy movements while in his first two years as an undergraduate at Thammasat University in Bangkok. Student and labor organizing had blossomed in the wake of the country's first democratic elections on October 14, 1973. But following a military coup on September 30, 1976, Thongchai and other student leaders organized a fresh wave of protests centered at Thammasat. These culminated in a large rally that grew through the night of October 5 following. The next morning, October 6, the Thai military surrounded the Thammasat campus and attacked the students in what has been described as a "massacre" in which approximately 106 people were killed, some even being raped, hung, or burned to death. Many students escaped. Thousands of students were arrested, though 19 were eventually imprisoned, including Thongchai. Various organizations, including Amnesty International, advocated for his release as a prisoner of conscience. He was eventually released on September 16, 1978 and allowed to return to finish his education at Thammasat on the condition that he was not involved in further political activities. He later went to Sydney, Australia, for his graduate education.
- Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-body of a Nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994.
- "Writing at the Interstices: Southeast Asian Historians and Post-National Histories in Southeast Asia", leading article in New Terrains in Southeast Asian History, ed. Abu Talib Ahmad and Tan Liok Ee, Athens: Ohio University Press, 2002: 3-29.
- "Remembering/ Silencing the Traumatic Past: the Ambivalent Memories of the October 1976 Massacre in Bangkok" in Cultural Crisis and Social Memory: Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos, ed. Charles F Keyes and Shigeharu Tanabe, London and New York: Routledge/Curzon, 2002: 243-283.
- "The Quest for 'Siwilai': A geographical discourse of Civilizational Thinking in the Late 19th and early 20th Century Siam", Journal of Asian Studies 59, 3 (Aug 2000): 528-549.
- "The Others Within: Travel and Ethno-spatial Differentiation of Siamese Subjects, 1885-1910," lead article in Civility and Savagery: Social Identity in Tai States, ed. Andrew Turton, London: Curzon Press, 2000: 38-62.
- Radicalism after Communism in Thailand and Indonesia
- Discuss the following statement: "We talk about sea history being written from a sea perspective. However, most SEAsian historians are trained by Western scholars using Western theories and intellectual tools. Therefore, their scholarship is no more 'indigenous' than that written by Ang Moh."
- Patrick Jory (March 2003). "Problems in Contemporary Thai Nationalist Historiography". Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (3).
- "Professor Winichakul Wins Book Award". Center for Southeast Asian Studies. 2004-09-28. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- "Four UW–Madison Professors Honored". Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI). 2003-05-09. p. B3.
- Thongchai Winichakul at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
- Focus on the Humanities Lecture: Thongchai Winichakul