Assistant Professor of Musicology
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My research focuses on music, race, and imperialism in nineteenth-century Siam. I am interested in the localization of the Eurocentric concept “race” to the colonial politics of Southeast Asia at the height of European domination. French and British imperialism in this period did not rely just on the brute force of warfare, but also on knowledge production that justified colonial activity through the condemnation of Siamese as culturally inferior and racially impure. My work examines reforms in musical thought and practice at the Siamese court undertaken as a bid to portray Siam’s racial-civilizational excellence in the face of this ethnological imperialism. While this history centers Siam’s actions in resisting European colonialism, I stress that these musical reforms were not enacted as subaltern efforts of anticolonial resistance, but as a waning monarchy’s bid to expropriate “race” as a tool of constituting sovereign power in a newfound global-colonial order.