Organized Panel Session
This panel explores and analyzes aesthetic regimes of Thailand—solidified (but contested) categories of art, fashion, sound, performance, craft, architecture, and/or comportment that have emerged in the country over the past 150 years. We consider the regional and global forces that continue to impact the shape of Thai modernity and investigate how the multiplicity of invented, and/or construed traditions forge national, local, and individual Thai identities. We focus on how aesthetic regimes have played a role in the emergence of state power and pointed movements of resistance to that power. By examining a number of different instances of aesthetic regimes, we raise the question of how the formal aspects of resistance can become as constricting as the formalities of state power.
Paying particular attention to the things that aesthetic regimes leave out, cover over, overdub, and obscure, we present how the materialization of aesthetic modes of being impacts the internal and external conceptions of the communities that produce them, and the formal and material expressions of their ideologies. Chua explores the global concerns that rearranged the makeup of the inner court under Rama VI. Irwin discusses the importance of trans-border and global influences in constructing a “Lanna” Buddhist aesthetic. Dalferro showcases ethnic Khmer people who drive the silk craft industry in Surin Province and their intersection with Thai heritage discourse. And Tausig’s analysis of sound in the context of the 2010s Red Shirt protests reverberates beyond the streets of Bangkok and onto the global political stage.