Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMichigan, Ann Arbor, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10412
Approve DateOctober 11, 2022
Project TitleCroteau, Chantal (Michigan, Ann Arbor, U. of) "Kinship, Ghosts, and Tensions of Personhood in Southern Thailand"
This project investigates the subtleties of Buddhist-Muslim relations in Thailand through a focus on two genres of history-telling widely practiced in the region: kinship and ghost histories. Situated in Takuapa, a region without active violence but where the daily social landscape is nonetheless fraught with ethnoreligious tensions, my research asks: 1) How do ghost and kinship histories shape and become shaped by current dynamics of ethnoreligious relations in southern Thailand?; 2) How is the personhood of the imagined other – including spirits – being constituted or denied through these histories?; and 3) What are the different formulations of causality and moral obligation evoked through these histories? In my research, I trace how ghost and kinship histories emerge in daily conversations, in interviews and written accounts, and in everyday practices, such as merit-making or the sharing of food. In attending to intimate narratives of kinship, haunting, and care, this project examines how people in Takuapa craft stories about who they are and about relations of causality, personhood, and blame. In doing so, this project suggests looking beyond politico-religious tensions as a way to understand Buddhist-Muslim relations, arguing instead for a careful analysis of tensions between modes of personhood and moral relations.