Spring Term Information for Phillips Academy Families

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February 14, 2022 On Campus
02/14/2022 5:00 PM 02/14/2022 6:30 PM America/New_York Andover The Meaning of Marriage: Exploring the Nature of Transnational Partnerships Between Isan Women and Western Men

Brace Student Fellow Presentation

When a 2004 report found that the number of marriages between Isan (Northeastern Thai) women and Western men was rapidly increasing, controversy arose. Since Isan was known as Thailand’s most impoverished region, these marriages were stereotyped as ones in which Isan women married Western men solely for material benefits. As a result, the Thai public believed their rise presented a threat to national morality and branded the women as “gold diggers” with no conscience.

Through her research, Nina Choophungart ’22 worked to counter these prejudiced notions by analyzing these transnational marriages under the lenses of gender, race, and colonialism. Drawing theory from Said’s Orientalism and Cheng’s Ornamentalism, Choophungart explores the construction of the mia farang (foreign wife) and pua farang (foreign husband) figures and their intersections with reality. She posits that Isan woman and Western man are simultaneously restricted and both have agency prior to and during the transnational partnership, albeit in different manners. Ultimately, Choophungart aims to decenter the colonial gaze by highlighting Isan women’s voices and broadening the ways in which the construct of marriage is viewed.

School Room, 3rd floor of Abbot Hall (on the Abbot campus)

Open to the PA community; dinner will be served.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Holly Barnes, Department of Music

School Room, Abbot Hall

The Meaning of Marriage: Exploring the Nature of Transnational Partnerships Between Isan Women and Western Men

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., School Room, Abbot Hall

Brace Student Fellow Presentation

When a 2004 report found that the number of marriages between Isan (Northeastern Thai) women and Western men was rapidly increasing, controversy arose. Since Isan was known as Thailand’s most impoverished region, these marriages were stereotyped as ones in which Isan women married Western men solely for material benefits. As a result, the Thai public believed their rise presented a threat to national morality and branded the women as “gold diggers” with no conscience.

Through her research, Nina Choophungart ’22 worked to counter these prejudiced notions by analyzing these transnational marriages under the lenses of gender, race, and colonialism. Drawing theory from Said’s Orientalism and Cheng’s Ornamentalism, Choophungart explores the construction of the mia farang (foreign wife) and pua farang (foreign husband) figures and their intersections with reality. She posits that Isan woman and Western man are simultaneously restricted and both have agency prior to and during the transnational partnership, albeit in different manners. Ultimately, Choophungart aims to decenter the colonial gaze by highlighting Isan women’s voices and broadening the ways in which the construct of marriage is viewed.

School Room, 3rd floor of Abbot Hall (on the Abbot campus)

Open to the PA community; dinner will be served.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Holly Barnes, Department of Music

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