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Clothing and politics may not seem to have much in common, but when utilized together they can become an important tool for reinventing national identity. The talk focuses on two female regents, Queen Saovabha Phongsri and Queen Sirikit of Chakri Dynasty in Thailand. Traditionally in Thailand, a high-ranking male royal member would be appointed by the king as a regent during a period of the king’s absence. However, Queen Saovabha Phongsri, a queen of King Chulalongkorn, became the first female regent for seven months during the time that the king, also known as Rama V, visited Europe in 1907. She was referred to as the “Queen Regent.” King Chulalongkorn ruled Siam between 1868 and 1910. The second female regent was Queen Sirikit in 1956, who was the queen of King Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX. He ruled Thailand from 1946 to 2016.
Professor Pattaratorn Chirapravati, is an art historian who specializes in Buddhist art and Southeast Asian art visual cultures. She received her Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Art history and Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University USA. She has published extensively on ancient Buddhist art (e.g., Votive Tablets in Thailand: Origin, Styles, and Uses (Oxford University Press, 2007) and Divination Au Royaume De Siam: Le corps, la guerre, le destine (Presses Universitaires de France, 2011). She co-curated two major art exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco entitled The Kingdom of Siam: Art from Central Thailand (1530–1800) and Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma (1775–1950). She is a faculty member in the Art Department and former Director and Vice Director of the Asian Studies Program at California State University, Sacramento. She is also former Head of Studies, Division of Arts and Humanities at Yale-NUS College (Singapore).
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