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Tamara Loos


Associate Professor
Director, Southeast Asia Program

Office: 301 McGraw Hall
Phone: (607) 254-5332
Fax: (607) 255-0469
Updated CV

Office Hours: On leave

Research and Teaching Interests

Tamara Loos is currently writing a book that seeks to integrate emotions, affect and violence into history generally and Thai history in particular. It asks how we can historicize emotions and incorporate them in historical studies without instrumentalizing them. This project utilizes court cases, newspapers sources, personal letters, and novels written since the turn of the 20th century in Thailand.

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.


Fall 2013:
On Leave
Spring 2014:
On Leave

Other 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

“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.

“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

Current Book Projects

Current Book Project: “Black Sheep Biographies: Siam’s Disowned Elite.” In Thai history, biography and autobiography tend toward the hagiographical and self-aggrandizing, respectively. However, because of thepower of the monarchy and lèse majesté laws in 20th century Thailand when auto/biographies were first imaginable, the majority of writing about important historical figures has not only focused on royal family members, but has also been limited by what can publicly be acknowledged about these figures. This project focuses on royal and non-royal elite men who studied abroad around the turn of the 20th century and returned infected not just withpolitical ideas about democracy, as most histories of colonized Asians highlight, but with ideas and strategies about personal ethics that pushed normative limits. These men, well-mannered and –educated, transgressed social norms by contemplating suicide, shooting their wives, believing their lives had an imminent expiration date, beating their children, challenging monarchical authority, allegedly engaging in adulterous infidelities, and otherwise behaving in ways that were, simply, human. I focus on these “black sheep” not to besmirch the Cakri lineage but to reveal the alternative, realistic daily lives of elites. 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. Privileging causality prioritizes certain historical detailsover others but only in retrospect, in the act of constructing history. I weave the individualized, emotive dimension into historical scholarship to bring contingency and specificity to the writing of history. These microhistories reveal 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 affect in narrativenonfiction.


“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, 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.