Office Hours: See department listing, 450 McGraw Hall
Research and Teaching Interests
Tamara Loos is currently writing a social history of Siam through the eyes of a reluctantly rebellious prince, Prisdang Jumsai (1852-1935). His perspective on this crucial moment in Siam's history-when that country, at once, escaped imperial control and transformed into an absolutist state-provides a dagger-to-the-heart critique of the construction of royal cultural authority while simultaneously revealing the centrality of narrative and emotions to history.
Her first book, /Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand/ considered Siam's place as a colonized and colonizing power in Southeast Asia. It detailed the forced incorporation of Malay Muslim areas into Siam, and revealed the gendered core of Thailand's modern legal system. It is among the first historical works to integrate thoroughly both the Malay Muslim south and gender into Thai history. Her articles include studies of sex and politics, transnational sexualities, comparative law, sodomy, the family, suffrage, intimate violence, rape and notions of liberty in Thailand.
For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page
Courses Taught at Cornell
History 1910: Modern Asian History. Team-taught undergraduate lecture course. Taught every fall.
History 3960/6960 Southeast Asian History from the 18th Century. Graduate and undergraduate lecture course and graduate seminar. Taught every spring.
History 2070/5070 The Occidental Tourist: Travel Writing & Orientalism in Southeast Asia. Graduate and undergraduate seminar. Taught alternate years.
History 2170 Subversion as Foreign Policy. Sophomore Seminar. Taught alternate years.
History 4000 Honors Proseminar. Seminar for undergraduate history majors who plan to write a thesis.
History 4160/6160 Seminar on Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asia. Graduate and undergraduate seminars. Taught alternate years.
History 4870/6870 Seminar on Modern Thailand. Graduate seminar. Taught once every 3 or 4 years.
History 8004 Supervised Graduate Reading. As needed.
Ph.D Cornell University, 1999
M.A. Cornell University, 1994
B.A. Pomona College, 1989
Recent Publications and Awards
Books and Book Chapters
"Renegade Royalist: Autobiography and Siam's Disavowed Prince Prisdang," in Clio in a Phanung: Ten Essays on the Cultural and Intellectual History of Thailand, Festschrift in honor of Craig J. Reynolds, edited by Maurizio Peleggi (Ithaca: SEAP Publications, forthcoming).
"Life Commitments: Benedict Anderson's Scholarship on Thailand," Thailand: Collected Articles by Benedict Anderson (Ithaca: Cornell SEA Publications, 2014), pp. 1-26.
"Challenging Global Modernity and the Development Paradigm in Thailand and Africa: Dr. Krisana Kraisintu," Modernities: Sites, Concepts and Temporalities in Asia and Europe, Global Modernity series, ed. Arif Dirlik (SUNY: forthcoming).
"Strange Bedfellows: Male Homo Eroticism and Politics in Thai History," in Sexual Diversity in Asia, ca. 600-1950, edited by Raquel Reyes, et. al. Routledge Contemporary Asia Series. London: Routledge, 2012.
Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006). A book-length social and legal history of nineteenth and early twentieth century Siam that focuses on gender, justice, modernity, and national identity through the lenses of family law, the Malay Muslim south, and polygyny. http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=4401
“Introduction,” Cocktail: A Play about the Life and HIV Drug Development Work of Dr. Krisana Kraisintu by Ping Chong and Vince LiCata (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2009), vii-xxv. Translated into Thai.
“Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and Britain on the Malay Muslim Border,” The Ambiguous Allure of the West: Traces of the Colonial in Thailand, edited by Rachel Harrison and Peter Jackson (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009).
“Stranger Bedfellows: Sodomy, Sex and Politics in Siam.” In Other Pleasures: Sodomy and Diverse Sexual Acts in Asia, ca. 400 -1940, edited by Raquel Reyes, et. al. Submitted (2009) to Palgrave Macmillan.
“The Politics of Women’s Suffrage in Thailand,” in Women’s Suffrage in Asia: Gender, Nationalism and Democracy, edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards. London and NY: RoutledgeCurzon Press, 2004: 170-194.
Critical Introduction, Five Years in Siam: From 1891-1896, Vols. 1-2, by H. Warington Smyth (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1898, rep. 1994). Also published on the web in December 2002 by Lewis P. Orans at http://www.pinetreeweb.com/hw-smyth-five-years-00.htm
Current Book Projects
Current Book Project: "Avenging History: Narrative, Emotion and Power in Thai History." The book offers a social history of nineteenth and early twentieth Siam through the eyes of a reluctantly rebellious prince, Prisdang Jumsai (1852-1935). His perspective on this crucial moment in Siam's history-when that country, at once, escaped imperial control and transformed into an absolutist state-provides a dagger-to-the-heart critique of the construction of royal cultural authority and lèse majesté laws that began under King Chulalongkorn. Prisdang, to the extent histories of Thailand mention him, is considered a disgrace at best and a traitor at worst. By following Prisdang's footsteps, we travel from Bangkok, to London for his education, to Europe where he served as Siam's first foreign minister to twelve countries, and then into exile, in disguise, throughout Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Prisdang transgressed social norms by challenging monarchical authority, allegedly engaging in adulterous infidelities, contemplating suicide, and audaciously pushing the limits of his social station. For this, he became reviled by the Siamese governing class, fled into exile, exposed to imperial powers Siam's monarch for his depraved sexual habits, became a rabble-rousing monk for fifteen years in Ceylon, and returned broken, humbled and poor to Siam in 1911. His autobiography and correspondence offer a truly unique and revealing window onto Siamese history. I focus on Prince Prisdang not to besmirch the Jakri lineage but to reveal the alternative, realistic daily lives of elites, and to capture a crucial moment in the construction of monarchical cultural authority-a construction that continues to shape power and discourse in Thailand today. More broadly, this project critiques the discipline of history's demand for causality, which too often eclipses efforts to present a fuller, humanizing view of the social context in which decisions were made and actions taken. I weave the individualized, emotive dimension into historical scholarship to bring contingency and specificity to the writing of history. The history of Prisdang reveals subjective experiences of the world in a way that engages the reader in an intimate dialogue with history and raises exciting questions about the role of emotions in narrative nonfiction. Methodologically, it weaves together narrative and analytical history.
"Besmirched with Blood: an Emotional History of Transnational Romance in Colonial Singapore." Rethinking History, special issue onEmotional Styles, 16, 2 (June 2012) (refereed).
"Transnational, Colonial and National Histories of Sexualities in Asia." American Historical Review 114 (Dec. 2009) (refereed), 1309-1324.
"The Politics of Sexual Violence in Siam." Jutyun: warasan satriniyom thai [Stance: the Thai Feminist Review], 2 (2008), 21-52.
“Transnational, Colonial and National Histories of Sexualities in Asia.” American Historical Review (Dec. 2009) (refereed).
“The Politics of Sexual Violence in Siam.” Jutyun: warasan satriniyom thai [Stance: the Thai Feminist Review], 2 (2008), 21-52.
“A History of Sex and the State in Southeast Asia: Class, Intimacy and Invisibility.” Part of Special Issue on “International Marriage, Rights and the State in Southeast and East Asia,” to Citizenship Studies 12, 1 (Feb. 2008) (refereed).
“In Celebration of Professor David Kent Wyatt.” Southeast Asia Program Bulletin (Fall 2007).
“Invited Commentary” on Michael Peletz, “Where are all the transgendered ritual specialists? Gender pluralism in Southeast Asia since early modern times,” Current Anthropology 47, 2 (April 2006).
“Sex in the Inner City: The Fidelity between Sex and Politics in Siam.” The Journal of Asian Studies 64: 4 (Nov. 2005): 881-909 (refereed).
“Siam’s Subjects: Muslims, Law, and Colonialism in Southern Thailand,” Southeast Asia Program Bulletin (Winter-Spring 2004-2005): 6-11.
“Issaraphap: The Limits of Individual Liberty in Thai Jurisprudence,” Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 12:1 (1998): 35-75 (refereed).
“Balancing the Scales of Justice,” Thailand Times English Daily (Bangkok, 13 February 1996).
LaFeber Research Grant, with PhD candidate, Rebecca Townsend, 2013.
Grant to Digitize Maps of SEA, with Greg Green and Boris Michev, Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences Projects, 2012.
LaFeber Research Grant, with PhD candidate, Quentin (Trais) Pearson, 2011.
USDE Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grant for Cornell's Southeast Asia Program, 2.4 million over 4 years, 2010.
Cornell Society for the Humanities Research Grant, 2009.
Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies Seed Grant, 2009.
Cornell History Department Faculty Research Grant, 2008.
LaFeber Research Grant, with Samson Lim, 2007.
Cornell History Department Faculty Research Grant, 2006.
J.S. Knight Writing Program Sophomore Seminar Grant, 2004.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Harvard, 2002.
Cornell President's Council of Cornell Women Affinito-Stewart Grant, 2002.
Society for the Humanities Faculty Research Grant, Spring 2002.
Cornell History Department Jr. Faculty Research Grant, Spring 2002.
Cornell History Department Jr. Faculty Research Grant, Spring 2001.
Lauriston Sharp Dissertation Prize, 1999.
Messenger-Chalmers Dissertation Prize, 1999.
Women's Studies Dissertation Fellowship, Spring 1999.
Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 1998.
Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Grant in Women's Studies, 1998.
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, Spring 1998.
Beatrice Brown Award, Cornell Women's Studies Program, 1998.
President's Council of Cornell Women Grant, Cornell University, 1997.