Spectral Polities and Brute Force: Subversive Archaism and the State in Thailand

14:15 to 16:00
Public hybrid lecture

Public talk by Professor Emeritus Michael Herzfeld, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.

In this talk Professor Herzfeld will focus on his new book Subversive Archaism: Troubling Traditionalists and the Politics of National Heritage (Duke University Press, January 2022) as well as his current research on crypto-colonialism.


Modern Thailand conceals within its bustling cities the persistent evidence of a past way of life with a very different kind of polity from today’s bureaucratic ethnonational state. Working from his field materials from the now-disbanded urban enclave of Pom Mahakan in Bangkok, the speaker will show how that earlier polity infuses both the official self-image of the country and the archaizing attitudes of some who yearn for a different social and political order and creatively deploy the state’s own heritage rhetoric to promote that alternative social vision.

Find more info and register here.

NIAS, ADI, Department of Anthropology and Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen

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