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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 5: Historical Writing Since 1945$
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Axel Schneider and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199225996.001.0001

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Thai Historical Writing

Thai Historical Writing

(p.539) Chapter 26 Thai Historical Writing
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Patrick Jory

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how in Thailand—which never really experienced a process of colonization and decolonization—the writing of history went back to the tradition of royal annals and was, for large parts of the twentieth century, under the direct influence, if not control, of the royal family. Indeed, modern history-writing in Thailand remained dominated by the presence of the monarchy. In addition to the quasi-divine status of the kings in traditional historiography, the kings acquired a newer significance in the tumultuous modern era. While European colonization was the great historical rupture that thrust other Southeast Asian kingdoms into modernity, Siam was not directly colonized. Credit for the modernization of the Thai kingdom and the preservation of formal political independence—two central ideas in the formulation of Thai nationalism—was written into official history as being due to the genius of the kings.

Keywords:   Thai historical writing, Thai historiography, monarchy, traditional historiography, modernization, political independence, Thai nationalism

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