Since 2004 the Malay-Muslim majority provinces in the border region of southern Thailand have been wracked by a violent insurgency. Over 7000 people have been killed and many thousands more injured. Currently 60,000 Thai security personnel are stationed in the region to conduct counter-insurgency operations. Another 80,000 people have been organized into a “volunteer defense force”. Ruth Streicher spent time researching this troubled region talking to local civilians, activists, journalists, academics, as well as military conscripts and senior officers. The result is Uneasy Military Encounters: The Imperial Politics of Counterinsurgency in Southern Thailand (Cornell UP, 2020). The book is a theoretically adventurous exploration of the conflict in Thailand’s deep south in which the author weaves the themes of empire, policing, gender, history, and religion.
Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: [email protected].