Mapping the City of the Gods: Bangkok, Ethnicity, and the Galactic Polity
Stanley Tambiah’s idea of the Galactic Polity, alongside previous ways of defining urban centers in Southeast Asia as Mueang, Mandala, or Nagara have been very useful in trying to understand the ritual, symbolic, and political ways of defining royal centers of power in the region. However, all-encompassing definitions always exclude as much as they include. This paper explores ways of understanding the founding and growth of the last Buddho-Brahmanic royal city of Southeast Asia — Bangkok. What and who gets excluded in the galactic polity and how does the ethnic history of the city help revisit the ways in which we understand the first 250 years of one of the world’s great cities.
Date: 4 December 2023, 14:00 (Monday, 9th week, Michaelmas 2023)
Venue: Oriental Institute, 11 Pusey Lane OX1 2LE
Venue Details: Spalding Room (3rd floor)
Speaker: Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania)
Organising department: Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Organiser: Kate Crosby (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Kate Crosby (University of Oxford)
Part of: Yin-Cheng Distinguished Lecture Series
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: All Welcome (In person and online) Live-streamed via YouTube English channel:; Chinese channel:
Editors: Pyi Kyaw, Kate Crosby