The Crown and the Capitalists: The Ethnic Chinese and the Founding of the Thai Nation. A Talk by Wasana Wongsurawat



Extraterritoriality was not a disadvantage for the Siamese ruling class and King Vajiravudh’s (Rama VI) royalist nationalism was not anti-Chinese. These are but two of the many controversial arguments in
The Crown and the Capitalists, a book that sets out to explain how the ethnic Chinese were actually at the fundamental core of the founding of the Thai nation-state. It engages the trans-national history of Thailand from the colonial period to the conclusion of the Cold War, not only from the perspective of the Thai state, but also from that of the colonial powers, the ethnic Chinese community, and the various Chinese states involved throughout the period. The book is based on extensive archival research and engages with materials in multiple languages and from three archives across the globe—the Public Record Office (Kew Gardens, UK), Academia Historica (Taipei, ROC), and the National Archives of Thailand (Bangkok, Thailand) and perhaps, most intriguingly, it disagrees with everyone from the great G. William Skinner
of Chinese Society in Thailand to the legendary author of Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson.
The Crown and the Capitalists is Thai history in
a completely new paradigm.


Dr Wasana Wongsurawat is an associate professor of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. Her main area of expertise is the modern history of China and the history of the Chinese diaspora. She is also very interested in the idea of the modern nation-state, the history of state formation, nationalism, nationalist movements and everything that goes against the logic of the nation - trans-nationalism, diaspora studies, global history, etc. The Crown and the Capitalists is her first monograph and it has been more than a full decade in the making.

Date: Thursday 20 February 2020
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2019-2020 Lecture Series.