’Tamara Loos is an assistant professor of history at Cornell University, where she conducts research that expands the boundaries of Thai scholarship by incorporating the study of gender, sexuality, law, and social history. She has written on Thai women’s suffrage, the concept of liberty in Thai law historically, and female same-sex sexuality in nineteenth-century Thailand.
As a Radcliffe Institute fellow, Loos will prepare a manuscript, “Subject Siam: Gender, Justice, and Colonial Modernity,” which will analyze the meaning of modernity in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Siam (Thailand) through a study of legal disputes and reforms. Loos’s book will reveal the uniqueness of Siam’s experience of modernity rather than evaluate its modern institutions and culture as imitative of Europe or its colonies. The project incorporates new social groups into the historical narrative about Siam by refusing to prioritize elite over non-elite, Bangkok over the provincial periphery, ethnic Thai over non-Thai, or men over women. Her study is the first to explore systematically the gendered nature of Siam’s jurisprudence and to use legal disputes as a source of social history. In addition to pluralizing the meaning of Thai modernity, Loos will decenter Siam’s monarchy as the agent of history, and reinterpret the operation of power along gendered lines.
Fulbright-Hays and the Social Science Research Council funded Loos’s research in Bangkok. Her awards at Cornell have included a President’s Council of Cornell Women Affinito-Stewart grant and a Society for the Humanities research grant. Loos earned her MA and PhD in history from Cornell.