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Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies Examination Report on the Doctoral Thesis


Academic year: 2022

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(1)Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies Examination Report on the Doctoral Thesis. Applicant. SINGPLIAM, Porranee. Name. ( Last Name. Dissertation. (Middle Name). / First Name. ). WOMEN AND NATION. Title・Subtitle: (English). /. Historicizing Thai Femininity From 1960s-1990s. Dissertation. 女性と国家. Title・Subtitle: (Japanese). 1960 年代から 1900 年におけるタイ人の女性性を歴史化する. *If the dissertation title is changed after the oral defense, please insert the changed title. *Even if the dissertation is written in English, a Japanese language translation of the title and subtitle must also be submitted..

(2) 2018/07/12 YYYY/MM/DD. To Dean of Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies,. Examination Committee Chief Examiner. Takashi Aso. 印 Signature. (Affiliation・Title:Professor, GSICCS, Waseda University Sub-Examiner. GREG DVORAK. ). 印 Signature. (Affiliation・Title:Associate Professor, GSICCS, Waseda University) Sub-Examiner. DAVID KARASHIMA. 印 Signature. (Affiliation・Title:Associate Professor, GSICCS, Waseda University). The Examination Committee members report the results of the dissertation examination and the oral defense below.. 1.Degree:Doctor of Philosophy (in International Culture and Communication Studies) 2.Curriculum Doctorate (Katei Hakase) 3.Examination period Dissertation examination: From. 2018/5/10 YYYY/MM/DD. Oral defense:. 2018/06/21 YYYY/MM/DD. To. 2018/06/20 YYYY/MM/DD.

(3) 4.The results of the dissertation examination and the oral defense *Please write down Pass or Fail in both categories. Dissertation examination:Pass. Oral defense:Pass. 5. Summary of the Dissertation As per attached sheet. 6. Table of Contents As per attached sheet. 7.The results of the dissertation examination and the oral defense (About 3,000 characters in Japanese or 1,000 words in English). (1) Evaluation and summary of the dissertation examination (Including Summary of the Dissertation). Attached. (2) Summary of the oral defense (including Comments and Questions). Attached.

(4) Abstract. Representations are not merely constructed images. What is representable, underrepresented, or occluded from consideration reveals in what ways politics and societal recognition are responsible for selecting representations of Thai women. Following the end of World War II, the Cold War, and the rise of the military regimes, I examine how Thai women take part in the reorganization of Thai society, starting from the sixties until the nineties. The theoretical supports, feminist and poststructuralist, urge me to reconsider, critique, and propose a paradigm of thought on the gendering of the nation that is a process, a concretization of something ambiguous yet needs a repertoire to solidify such homogeneous national identity. The emblem for the nation being the bodies of Thai women. Statist representations of women, in particular, have always been associated with the politics of the Thai nation, of being a civilized Siamese/Thai, or of being a modern nation-state. On the path to projecting such status, women, more so than men, are given a new task, role, and duty in which they are characterized as symbolic and conditioned by the elites. Within the three decade time span, however, I will elaborate on how women undergo different governing regimes and national development directions: women are elevated to become a representative of tradition and modern self in the era of promotion; during the political upheavals they occupy the literary space to counteract the oppressive regime; they take on the burden as a result of the uneven economic miracle and development plans; and finally, they resort to materializing their sexed bodies as part of the conniving politico-sexual economy. My research objects are distinct in that they pinpoint salient factors that are embedded within the representation; power relations and intersectionality. From Miss Universe to literary works, films, and tourism campaigns, the assertion of tradition and.

(5) national identity represented through female bodies is thoroughly questioned. Gendered subjectivity, especially the femininity of Thai women is in flux and contingent upon political, economical, and societal intersections. The intersectionality found within diachronic studies, the rapidly materialized state, and the male-dominated disposition of knowledge and labor will be incorporated and will be the means for which we can argue why femininity and gendered notions are not a process of sexed materiality and indeed exist in plurality. The assertion of khwampenthai–or Thainess–embodied by women is a perpetual assertion on the statist part which discloses a male-centric historicity of the country. It exposes a certain kind of power in representing gendered subject in a national discourse where women are protected, revered, and restricted as genteel because it symbolizes the nation, the tradition. To this end, the conception of khwampenthai that has been etched onto women’s bodies conserves and engenders the idealized Thai femininity. As an outcome of this dissertation, I wish to stimulate a new paradigm, a cultural understanding of gender relations, gendering the nation, and ultimately gendered notions for femininity, masculinity, and non-conforming gendered subjectivity. The conceptualizations of the sexed body, gendered identity, and sexualized identity are not simple “concepts”. To think in this normative way is as pernicious as the materiality of social disposition. Understanding the issues about gender can have de facto and de jure effect on the diffusion of labor force, legislation, and religious practices. The gendering of the nation and its subjects is political and exercised within the intricate and vexing nexus of power. Statist recognition and acknowledgement of diverse genders–its structured and institutionalized knowledge on normative masculine men and normative feminine women–is at an impasse because of an inability to define new identities, new bodies, and new non-binary Thai subjects. Women and the nation then becomes a study about power and intersectionality. The.

(6) divergent objects in the chapters in this dissertation are representative of a mechanism of power, of the history of nation building, of rapid capitalization, of patriarchal modes of thoughts, but, more important, these representations are a means to counteract and resist the gendering of the Thais and of the nation. Researching about the progress, development, and position of women within society unveils how the state’s use of gendered representation is overshadowed by the metanarrative of national cultural identity. This discursive construct of unified identity is perilous for women, men, and gender fluid subjects. What we need is a digression from the norm to enhance a more diverse understanding. We can only hope for a rhetoric of tolerance to become acceptance, a conditioned treatment to become more inclusive and truly equal. All of which happens from the change in structured and institutionalized knowledge on sex, gender, and body and their intersections with the internal and external global impacts..

(7) Contents. Acronyms / i Glossary of Thai Terms / ii Introduction / 1 1 The Theorization and the Historicity of the Distinct Sex, Gender, and Body / 23 2 Reversed Realities: National Pride and Visual Coding / 71 3 Imagined Spectacle: Role Reversal in Suratnari / 99 4 Disintegrated Participation: Hierarchy and Gender Relations Re-Examined in Khru Somsri / 126 5 En-Route to Economic Revival: Rooted in Female Bodies / 154 Conclusion / 183 Appendix / 204 Bibliography / 205.

(8) 7. (1) Professors Gregory Dvorak, David Karashima, and I find that Ms. Porranee Singpliam’s doctoral dissertation is well-written, quite informative and insightful, and, more than anything, innovative in the field of cultural studies where works on gender questions of Thai women are scarce and limited.. We unanimously agree that we accept Ms. Singpliam’s. work at the graduate school. In Women and Nation: Historicizing Thai Femininity from 1960s-1990s, Ms. Singpliam investigates into questions of Thai womanhood in the late twentieth century.. In. the work, she analyzes controversies surrounding the fourteenth Miss Universe, Abhastra Hongsakul, in Thailand, a radical feminist writer M.L. Boonlua Dbyasuvarn’s novel Suratnari, M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol’s controversial film Khru Somsri, and other related topics.. In the analyses, Ms. Singpliam mainly takes Judith Butler’s performative theorist. position to point out the ways in which Thai womanhood has been designed and strengthened by masculine conservatives and traditionalists with its reality being neglected and sometimes even distorted within the masculine dominant socio-cultural structure of Thailand. The examiners are particularly impressed with the range of Ms. Singpliam’s work, as she analyzes the femininity of Thai women in the late twentieth century by working on a variety of topics.. Also, Ms. Singpliam takes varied approaches with which to bring to the. fore how women in Thailand have been represented, or underrepresented, in global events, arts and literature, and the world of tourism--she picks up most significant socio-cultural events and artworks from the 1960s to the 1990s.. And in each of these cases, Ms.. Singpliam’s research is both intensive and extensive.. Ms. Singpliam conducted thorough. research and analysis of documents written in Thai at the same time she read a significant number of theoretical studies written in English.. While any critical studies of the male.

(9) dominant culture of her home country may possibly jeopardize a researcher’s position in the future, Ms. Singpliam challenges that limit by analyzing the ways in which women in Thailand have been underrepresented in socio-cultural events and throwing a light on the works of art in which Thai women’s femininity is positively represented.. 7. (2) In the oral defense, a number of questions were asked by not only examiners but also other attendants including students of the graduate school.. Given the limitation of the. space, I will describe most significant dialogues we made in the session as follows. Professor Karashima and I shared the same question of why Ms. Singpliam had chosen four different examples from four different fields—Miss Universe contests, literature, film, and tourism campaigns—in her study and how each of these four case studies can be interrelated within the single work.. To this question, Ms. Singpliam answered that since. she wished to clarify a socio-cultural context in which Thai women had been placed, it was more reasonable that she took a topic-oriented, interdisciplinary approach, paying attention to a number of different aspects of the femininity of Thai women living through last four decades of the twentieth century. Another question I made to Ms. Singpliam is about the reason why she repeatedly stressed the inferior position of women in Thai society, while Thai is one of few Asian nations where a women became a Prime Minister in the past with other women holding high social positions including researchers and professors.. Ms. Singpliam’s answer was that. even though there were a small number of women elites in Thailand, they were quite exceptional and a majority of women were suppressed and sometimes even manipulated with their possibilities always limited and restricted inside the masculine dominated socio-political system.. Women are, answered Ms. Singpliam, poorly represented in Thai.

(10) society due to the government’s statist policy (kanphatthana), which is neither liberal nor inclusive but gendered and biased against women. Professor Dvorak, then, asked Ms. Singpliam about the meaning of “metanarrative,” a word that she used quite often when describing Thai’s cultural discourse.. Ms. Singpliam. explained that she was using this phrase, the “‘metanarrative’ of Thainess,” when she wished to indicate the presence of an ideological state apparatus with which the government or state system regulates and gender-divides the nation.. In other words, according to Ms.. Singpliam, “Thainess” is an abstract notion that transforms itself under different regimes in different periods of time, but it has retained the same discursive power over the sexed subjects of the state of Thailand.. Meanwhile Ms. Singpliam pointed out that individuals’. lived experiences were quite different from the state’s prescribed notion of the sexed subject. And it is this difference between people’s lived experiences and the conventional notion of the sexed subject, which is determined and then overdetermined by the state, that Ms. Singpliam brings to the fore so as to challenge the given socio-cultural condition of Thailand. Another question that Professor Dvorak made is about the binary contrast that Ms. Singpliam made between “state” or “institution” and people’s “lived experiences.”. In. particular, Professor Dvorak asked her to clarify what or who the “state” actually was.. To. this, Ms. Singpliam answered that the state referred to the Thai state in the symbolic sense and that the “state” system was composed of a group of male bureaucrats.. The policies that. these state officials make are, according to Ms. Singpliam, aimed to develop the nation as male-oriented and, as a result, women are underrepresented in Thailand--women are used, misused, and even abused to intensify the male dominant social system.. This is, argued Ms.. Singpliam, what has been going on in Thai society since the mid-nineteenth century: all the national institutions, national, religious, and governmental, are created and supported by a.

(11) group of state elites most of whom are men. More questions about the reality of womanhood in Thailand were posed to Ms. Singpliam in the session, and she managed those questions to clarify the situation in which women in Thailand was and still is placed socio-culturally.. Overall, the ways in which Ms.. Singpliam answered the questions demonstrates not only the acuteness of her knowledge in the field of cultural studies but also her qualification as an educator.. Once again, the. examiners all agree that Ms. Singpliam deserve our Ph.D. and that her dissertation be accepted by the Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies.. *The examiners have accepted the revised edition of Ms. Singpliam’s dissertation after she corrected grammatical and stylistic errors in the original document..




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