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Dr. Patrick Jory, Senior Lecturer, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland
History; Thailand, Southeast Asia, China
How long have you been a member of AAS?
Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues?
It is the world’s peak body for the scholarly study of Asia. The perfect forum to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field and to network with like-minded scholars.
How did you first become involved in Asian Studies?
I was part of a rugby tour to Bangkok, Thailand, in the late 1980s. My fascination with Asia began from that time. Four years later I won a scholarship to study for a PhD in Southeast Asian History.
What do you enjoy most or what have been your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies?
The endless fascination involved in the attempt to marry methodological and theoretical approaches that have arisen out of the Western historical experience with empirical phenomena from the Asian region. That, and networking with colleagues in Asia and other parts of the world.
While most of my career has been in the Australian academic system, between 2001 and 2009 I coordinated a Southeast Asian Studies program at Walailak University in southern Thailand. The experience was enormously rewarding.
Tell us about your current or past research.
My main interest is in Southeast Asian cultural history. I am especially interested in the relationship between culture and politics, dating from my reading of Gramsci as a fourth year undergraduate student. I have a forthcoming book on the theory of the monarchy in Thailand, which looks at how the Buddhist roots of the Thai conception of monarchy were challenged by “modernity” – a problem which the Thai monarchy has yet to overcome. My current research is on the history of manners in Thailand. I am looking to apply elements of Norbert Elias’s “figurative sociology” approach, which has been used extensively for Europe, to the Thai case, hopefully resulting in a book explaining the “civilizing process” in Thailand.
What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a career in Asian Studies?
Time spent in the Asian region is invaluable – seize any opportunity that may present itself to you. If possible try to learn a language or two.
Outside of Asian Studies, tell us some interesting facts about yourself.
I like to combine the life of the mind with the life of the body. I’ve always been physically active, playing cricket, rugby, football, going in the occasional half marathon, and I try to get down to the Gold Coast for a surf when I can.