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T(h)ai Studies Network Germany (TSNG)

Mission::

The T(h)ai Studies Network Germany aims at improving the quality of Thailand-related higher education in Germany. Thai studies as such do not feature among Germany’s academic disciplines, where Thaiistik, currently only taught at Hamburg University, traditionally focuses on philology and history. Thai studies are, however, not necessarily limited to Thailand or individual disciplines, but should be considered as an interdisciplinary field of regional expertise. Every semester the network offers students from the participating departments online seminars. The online seminars are hosted alternately by the participating institutions and open to all students from the involved programs. The disciplinary focus of the individual seminars will thus also alternate, while Thailand will always be addressed. The respective program coordinators have agreed to guarantee the creditability of the online seminars in the respective programs irrespective of the disciplinary focus.

Mailing list::

Interested students will be informed via a mailing list hosted by the Royal Thai Embassy, Berlin about upcoming seminars, Thailand-related events and scholarship programs. Please subscribe to this mailing list under: [email protected]

Background::

The T(h)ai Studies Network Germany was founded in September 2021 during a symposium dedicated to the current state of Thai studies in Germany. The symposium was organized by Heidelberg University’s Institute of Anthropology and brought together representatives from all universities offering Thai language training in Germany. The need for a German-wide exchange of scholars and students actively involved in Thai studies is obvious. Many German universities teach Tai languages or offer seminars related to Thailand or Laos. However, language training is often not inter-linked with content-related teaching (addressing culture, religion, society, history, politics), and content-related seminars are usually offered without complementary language training. Students are thus rarely able to develop a holistic understanding of the societies they study. At present, while both content and language teaching on Thailand and Laos are threatened by massive budgetary cuts and a growing emphasis of transregionality, it seems no longer possible for an individual institute to offer a holistic training that concentrates on the speakers of a single regional language family. The formation and explicit articulation of disciplinary-based expertise at each location and a closer network between individual institutions is therefore indispensable to guarantee the survival of high-quality Thai studies in Germany.

Participating departments:

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin(Seminar of Southeast Asian Studies)

Universität Bonn(Abteilung für Südostasienwissenschaften))

Universität Hamburg(Abteilung für Sprachen und Kulturen Südostasiens)

Universität Heidelberg(Institute of Anthropology)

Universität Köln(Geographisches Institut/Global South Studies Center)

Universität Passau(Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungspolitik)

List of online seminars offered by the network since 2022:

“Understanding Tai Conceptualization of Sociality” – Dr. Benjamin Baumann (Universität Heidelberg) – forthcoming winter term 2023/24

“The Politics of Memory in Mainland Southeast Asia” – Prof. Volker Grabowsky (Universität Hamburg) – summer term 2023/p>

“Nachhaltige Entwicklung in Thailand: Anspruch und Wirklichkeit“ – Dr. Oliver Pye (Universität Bonn) – winter term 2022/23

“Geographie und Ethnologie von Thailand und Laos” – Prof. Frauke Kraas (Universität Köln), Prof. Guido Sprenger (Universität Heidelberg) – summer term 2022

Contact:

The Network is coordinated by Dr. Benjamin Baumann (benjamin.baumann[at]eth.uni-heidelberg.de) Institute of Anthropology, Heidelberg University.


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