Creating Laos

The Making of a Lao Space between Indochina and Siam, 1860-1945

by Søren Ivarsson

250 pp., 11 figures
NIAS Monographs # 112
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2008, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 022 5, £35.00
Paperback - 2008, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 023 2, £17.99

The existence of Laos today is taken for granted. But the crystallization of a Lao national idea and ultimate independence for the country was a long and uncertain process.

This book examines the process through which Laos came into existence under French colonial rule through to the end of World War II. Rather than assuming that the Laos we see today was an historical given, the book looks at how Laos’s position at the intersection of two conflicting spatial layouts of ‘Thailand’ and ‘Indochina’ made its national form a particularly contested process.

This, however, is not an analysis of nation-building from the perspec-tive of administrative and political structures. Rather, the book charts the emergence of a notion of a specifically Lao cultural identity that served to buttress Laos as a separate ‘Lao space’, both in relation to Siam/Thailand and within French Indochina.

Based on an impressive variety of primary sources, many of them never before used in studies of Lao nationalism, this book makes a significant contribution to Lao historical studies and to the study of nation-building in Southeast Asia.


Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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