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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies organizes and sponsors a number of events such as lectures, film screening, workshops, symposia, conferences, exhibits, and performances throughout the year.  Several of these events are in collaboration with other U-M units, and are often free and open to the public. To see what we have planned for this semester, please visit our 2020 Lecture Series page.

CSEAS Lecture Series. Four of the Thirteen Lives Are Stateless: The Cave Rescue, Hollywood Heroism and Ethnonational Traps at the Thai-Burma Border

Jane Ferguson, Associate Professor, Australian National University
Friday, October 21, 2022
12:00-1:00 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
"In 2018, the world news watchers were captivated by the real-life rescue of the boys’ soccer team, the Wild Boars, from deep within the labyrinth of Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. The amazing story was ripe for the plucking, with suspense, drama, and a happy ending. Just 4 years later, Hollywood director Ron Howard released the movie Thirteen Lives, with professed dedication to contextual authenticity. Moving from the heroic story itself, this presentation will consider ethno-nationalist discourse, and how Thai-ness is visible, assumed, or glossed over, depending on the situation. Does it matter if we emphasize their regional identity? Their Shan-ness? How are the boys trapped in the cave different from Shan construction workers? Can discussion of the amazing story, even the Hollywood film, prompt discussion about citizenship law reform? In addition to considering the framing of Ron Howard’s movie in light of these questions, this presentation draws upon ethnographic discussion of everyday statelessness in Thailand, as presented in my recent book Repossessing Shanland: Myanmar, Thailand, and a Nation-State Deferred.

Jane Ferguson is an Associate Professor in the School of Culture, History and Language at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. She received her PhD and MA from Cornell University.

Register at:
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: center of southeast asia studies, Cseas Lecture Series, myanmar, southeast asia, thailand
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Southeast Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures