Gockel International Symposium Sept. 27-28

Sept. 21, 2012

Dr. Chad Stebbins

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) – The 2012 Gockel International Symposium, “The Transformation of Thailand: Revival and Political Change,” will be held Sept. 27-28 at Missouri Southern State University. Morning and evening lectures will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 27, along with a final morning session on Friday, Sept. 28.

Thursday Morning Presentation:

“Diversity, National Integration and the Questioning of ‘Thai-ness’” will be presented at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Taylor Performing Arts Center at MSSU.  The presenter will be Dr. Charles Keyes, professor emeritus of anthropology and international studies at the University of Washington.

Thursday Evening Presentations:

“Political Change and Instability in Thailand After the Cold War” will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall.  The speaker will be Dr. Mark Mullenbach, associate professor of political science and director of international studies at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.Following Dr. Mullenbach’s presentation, Dr. Keyes will present “From Peasant to Cosmopolitan Villagers: The Refiguring of the ‘Rural’ in Northeastern Thailand ,” also in Corley Auditorium  in Webster Hall. 

Friday Morning Presentation:

Dr. Mark Mullenbach will present “Government and Politics of Thailand in the 21st Century” at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall.

Dr. Charles Keyes

keyesDr. Charles Keyes has since the early 1960s carried out extensive research in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia on Buddhism and modernity, ethnicity and national cultures, and culture and "development."

He joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 1965 and subsequently served at this institution as chair of the department of anthropology (1985-1990 and 2007) and director of the center for Southeast Asian Studies (1986-1997). He has also had a long affiliation with the Faculty of Social Science at Chiang Mai University, including in 2011 holding an appointment as visiting professor with the Center for Ethnic Studies and the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University. His other appointments include that of visiting professor at Mahasarakham University in Thailand, Copenhagen University in Denmark, Gothenburg University in Sweden, the University of California in Los Angeles, and the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan. 

Professor Keyes has authored, edited or co-edited 15 books, monographs or special issues of journals and published over 80 articles. In his forthcoming book, From Peasant to Cosmopolitan Villagers: The Roots of Rural Populism in Northeastern Thailand, he traces the evolution of relationships between Lao-speaking rural people in northeastern Thailand and the Thai state from a millenarian uprising in 1902 to the electoral successes of populist parties in the first decade of the 21st century. This monograph will be published by Silkworm Books in Chiang Mai, jointly with the University of Washington Press. Dr. Keyes is also currently engaged together with his wife, Jane, in work on another book that is tentatively titled Return to Mae Sariang: Remembering the World of a Thai Frontier. This work, based on photos and notes from fieldwork in the late 1960s, explores how diverse ethnic and religious groups meeting on the "middle ground" of a frontier area near the Burma border engaged each other to shape a distinctive local world, one that when they undertook their research was more 19th than 20th or 21st century.

Dr. Mark Mullenbach

mullenbachDr. Mark Mullenbach is an associate professor of political science and director of the international studies program at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Dr. Mullenbach earned his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Moorhead State University (Minnesota), Illinois State University, and the University of Arizona, respectively. In addition, Dr. Mullenbach worked as a congressional intern and legislative assistant (foreign and defense policy) for Congressman Timothy J. Penny (1st District, Minnesota) in Washington, D.C. from 1989-94. Dr. Mullenbach was hired by the UCA Department of Political Science in 2001 just prior to the successful defense of his doctoral dissertation, Third-Party Interventions in Intrastate Disputes in the Twentieth Century.

Dr. Mullenbach's dissertation research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Among other publications, Dr. Mullenbach's research has been published by International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, and the Midsouth Political Science Review.


wheelerThe moderator will be Dr. Norton Wheeler, assistant professor of history at Missouri Southern State University.  Dr. Wheeler teaches U.S. and Asian history This month, Routledge Press will publish his book, The Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence. Dr. Wheeler had a 25- year career in the business sector, including three years living, working and establishing a factory in China.

Who Were the Gockels?

The Symposium is named in honor of longtime MSSU faculty member Harry Gockel and his wife Berniece, a teacher in the elementary grades.  They were both ardent international travelers and supporters of the university.  Their estate provides the funds for the annual symposium.

Their wish was that “the symposium or conference . . . discuss international affairs, governments and politics, including issues of historical, economic, geo-political, social or current affairs” with “authorities in these disciplines . . . invited to the symposium or conference to lecture and discuss these issues with the students, faculty and people of the region . . . . “

For more information on these talks and other events during the Thailand semester, see .