NBSEAS: Thongchai Winichakul and his book on the Thamassat University massacre

The massacre of student protestors at Thammasat University on 6 October 1976 is one of the most infamous incidents in modern Thai political history. It is also among the most problematic for historians, who have struggled with the silences and ambiguities enveloping events of that day, not to mention survivors and families of the victims, who have had to carry on with their lives or grieve for lost loved ones without acknowledgement of what happened back then, let alone why it happened. Now a remarkable new book, by one who has thought and felt about October 6 as both an historian and a survivor, comes to terms with the massacre and with the “unforgetting” that followed it. The book is Moments of Silence: The Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976 Massacre in Bangkok (University of Hawai’i Press, 2020). Its author, Thongchai Winichakul, joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies for a very special episode on the power of neither remembering nor forgetting.

Thai-language readers can visit the Documentation of October 6 website to browse the online archive on the massacre mentioned in the interview.

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Nick Cheesman is a Fellow in the Department of Political & Social Change, Australian National University. He hosts the New Books in Interpretive Political & Social Science series and is an occasional contributor to the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel on the New Books Network.

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