The Need for Redefining Thai Slavery in History Textbooks


  • Yaninie Phaithayawat


Redefining, Textbook, Thai slavery


The definitions of Thai slavery in history textbooks had rarely changed although the national education plans and Thai curricula were revised many times over several decades. This article argues that there is the need for redefining Thai slavery in history textbooks in order to prevent the misconception of Thai slavery among students and to broaden the discussion of Thai slavery definition. The study was conducted by examining many textbooks authorized by the Ministry of Education from 1928 till 2001. Those textbooks were divided into two levels: lower levels (grade1-6) and upper levels (grade7-9), and were categorized in different curricula: the first one before 1960, the second one in 1960, the third one in 1978, the fourth one in 1990, and the latest one in 2001. The study discloses that the scholars writing those textbooks mostly defined Thai slaves as someone with a poor status and portrayed that the abolition of Thai slavery was the great royal duty of King Chulalongkorn. This led students to believe that the abolition of slavery was based on the effort of king Chulalongkorn to ensure freedom and liberty to all slaves. In addition, Thai slavery was compared to the Western slavery by the scholars in term of its status and its abolition. Thai slavery was different from that in other countries. The limited scope of discussion on Thai slavery definition and one-sided narration of Thai slavery should be addressed. This article suggests more in-depth analysis of redefining Thai slavery and encourages more discussion on this definition in both the scholar research and history textbook. This leads to the conclusion that the narration of slavery in Thai history textbooks should be revised in order to broaden students’ understanding on Thai slavery.


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How to Cite

Phaithayawat, Y. (2019). The Need for Redefining Thai Slavery in History Textbooks. Research and Development Journal Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, 10(1), 118. Retrieved from