Thongchai Winichakul’s powerful book, Moments of Silence: The Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976 Massacre in Bangkok, published in 2020 by the University of Hawaiʻi Press, was awarded the 2022 EuroSEAS (European Association for Southeast Asian Studies) Humanities Book Prize. The award was announced during a hybrid ceremony at the 12th EuroSEAS Conference held June 28–July 1 in Paris-Aubervilliers.
The judges noted the book’s strengths, “This emotionally powerful book is about the history of the memory of a turning-point event in Thai politics, the state-organised killing of students at a university in Bangkok…What really sets it apart is the author’s centrality to the narrative. Thongchai Winichakul was a leading activist in October 1976; he survived the massacre and has played a central role in the remembrance of the event since that date. In this respect, the book is a masterpiece of reflexive scholarly writing, as the author skillfully and sensitively navigates the challenges of his own positionality in the story he tells. …Moments of Silence [is] a truly remarkable work, and—rare thing indeed—an eloquent scholarly expression of deep emotion and sadness, itself a monument to those who died.”
Born in Bangkok and a U.S. resident since 1991, Winichakul is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His first book, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation, also published by UH Press (1994), received the 1995 Harry J. Benda Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. Still in print, Siam Mapped continues to be used as a textbook in courses at universities across the U.S.
The biennial EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize recognizes the best academic book on Southeast Asia published in the humanities—including archaeology, art history, history, literature, performing arts and religious studies. EuroSEAS aims to stimulate scholarly cooperation within Europe in the field of Southeast Asian studies. Every two years it brings together hundreds of specialists on Southeast Asia from all over the world for its international conference.