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MEETINGS 2013-2017

421st Meeting : "The Shan and Not-So-Shan Rebellions in Chiang Rai; Buddhism, Borders, and Beheadings in the Early Twentieth Century”. 

Tuesday, 08 August, 2017.

A Talk by Anthony Lovenheim Irvin

The Talk:

During the early years of the twentieth century, numerous settlements in the Kok River Valley were besieged by groups of rebels. These rebels made their base in old walled city of Chiang Saen, on the banks of the Mekong river, and within the twenty-five kilometer no-man’s land between Monthon Phayap and French Indochina. During the first wave of attacks, the rebels conspired with the Shan residents living within the walled city of Chiang Rai to lay waste to the town and slaughter the ruling Siamese administrators. The rebels
were held off at the bridge leading into the city while their coconspirators were arrested and held at Wat Phra Singh. While primarily Shan, there is evidence to suggest that local people were also involved in the uprisings. The final uprising was led by a Mon monk named Thu Sala Muang Oot, the abbot of the now abandoned Wat Phra Jao Thong Thip in wiang Chiang Saen. While in robes, Thu Sala Muang Oot led bands of tattooed, sword carrying rebels against local defensive forces and Siamese soldiers from the south. Spoiler Alert: Things did not end well for this monk.

This presentation contextualizes the uprisings in the broader reconfigurations of power taking place in northern Thailand, and the specific collaborations and contestations between local Chao, monks of disparate affiliations, Siamese administrators, British officials, and American missionaries that emerged in Chiang Rai
at the time.

The Speaker

Anthony Lovenheim Irwin is a PhD candidate in the department of Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Want to read more? ....click "HERE"(PDF File for downloading or reading on line - 6 pages).


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