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Beyond Nature and Culture of Modern Thai Water Engineering: The Ontology of Infrastructure


Jakkrit Sangkhamanee (CSDS, Faculty of Political Science, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Chulalongkorn University) will go on with the lecture series of the academic seminar “Societies and Environments in Southeast Asia”, with a session about Modern Thai Water Engineering.

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The talk will explore Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department Museum for Heavy Engineering where the works and lives of engineers are displayed and narrated and their machines exhibited. Through the museum walk-through, Jakkrit Sangkhamanee will analyze the mutual constitution and historical transformation of the amphibious assemblage that makes up Thai water engineering. In some ways, the human and non-human hybridity depicted in the museum exceeds the binary of nature and culture proposed by Philippe Descola is his critical work Beyond Nature and Culture. Tracing the complex interrelation of engineers, landscapes, bureaucracy, statecraft and myth depicted in the exhibits, the analysis elicits the museum as a particular, and peculiar, parliament of things that articulates the amodern characteristics of the Thai water engineering assemblage.

Friday, December 16, 2016
Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University