1988 Ph.D. University of Chicago (Anthropology).
"Peasant Perspectives on the Political Economy of the Northern Thai Kingdom of Chiang Mai in the Nineteenth Century: Implications for the Understanding of Peasant Political Expression."
1981 M.A. University of Chicago (Anthropology).
In the Wake of the Lords: A Historical Perspective on the Role of Irrigation in the Political Economy of Northern Thailand
1972 B.A. With Distinction. Stanford University (Anthropology).
Professor of Anthropology
At UW-Madison since 1988
Affiliations: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and Development Studies
Katherine Bowie has conducted extensive research in Thailand for over 30 years. Combining oral histories, participant-observation and interviews with archival research, her work explores Thai peasant history, political economy, and social movements. Her current research focuses on the politics of gender and religion in Thailand. In 2004 a national controversy erupted over a northern Thai taboo which forbad women from entering sacred spaces in Buddhist temples. Her fascination with this controversy has led her to explore the history of this "ancient" northern taboo, the legal debates over opposed clauses in the 1997 Thai Constitution which protect both equal rights for women and the right to pursue local customs, the underlying conflict over the legalization of a Theravada Buddhist lineage of nuns (bhikkuni), and the extent of regional variation in contemporary interpretations of Buddhism.
Her national service includes Fulbright Scholar to Thailand, Eisenhower Fellow to Thailand, book review editor for Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), Past-President of the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs (MCAA). She is an active member of the Council of Thai Studies (COTS) and is currently Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
Professor Bowie teaches a range of classes from introductory courses in anthropology to graduate courses in anthropological theory. More specialized courses she teaches include Peoples and Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia, Political Anthropology, Anthropology of the State, Anthropology of Capitalism, Historical Anthropology, Peasant Politics and more recently courses on Theravada Buddhism.
2011."Polluted Identities: Ethnic Diversity and the Constitution of Northern Thai Beliefs on Gender." Southeast Asian Historiography, Unravelling the Myths: Essays in honour of Barend Jan Terweil. Edited by Volker Grabowsky. River Books Press. Pp. 112-127.
2010."Women's Suffrage in Thailand: A Southeast Asian Historiographical Challenge." Comparative Studies in Society and History. Volume 52 /4 (December): 708 -741.
2008. "Vote Buying and Village Outrage in an Election in Northern Thailand: Recent Legal Reforms in Historical Context." Journal of Asian Studies.67/2 (May):469-511.
2008. "Standing in the Shadows: Of Matrilocality and the Role of Women in a Village Election in Northern Thailand." American Ethnologist. 35/1: 136-153.
2006. "Of Corvee and Slavery: Historical Intricacies of the Division of Labor and State Power in Northern Thailand." Labor in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Society of Economic Anthropology Monograph Series Volume 22. Edited by E. Paul Durrenberger and Judith E. Marti. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Pp. 245-264.
2005."The State and the Right Wing: The Village Scout Movement in Thailand." In Social Movements: An Anthropological Reader. Edited by June Nash. Blackwell Press. Pp. 46-65.
2000. "Ethnic Heterogeneity and Elephants in Nineteenth Century Lanna Statecraft." Civility and Savagery: Social Identity in Tai States. Edited by Andrew Turton. London: Curzon Press. pp.330-348.
1998. Voices from the Thai Countryside: The Necklace and Other Short Stories of Samruam Singh. Revised edition. Edited and translated by Katherine A. Bowie. Madison, Wisconsin: Center of Southeast Asia Publication Series. Monograph #17.
1998. "The Alchemy of Charity: Of Class and Buddhism in Northern Thailand." American Anthropologist.100/2: 469-481.
1997. Rituals of National Loyalty: An Anthropology of the State and the Village Scout Movement in Thailand. New York: Columbia University Press.
1996. "Slavery in Nineteenth Century Northern Thailand: Archival Anecdotes and Village Voices." In State Power and Culture in Thailand, E. Paul Durrenberger, eds. Yale University Southeast Asia Monograph #44. Pp. 100-138.
1993. "Cloth and the Fabric of Northern Thai Society in the Nineteenth Century: From Peasants in Cotton to Lords in Silks." American Ethnologist, 20/1 (February): 138-158.
1992. "Unraveling the Myth of the Subsistence Economy: The Case of Textile Production in Nineteenth Century Northern Thailand." Journal of Asian Studies. 51/4 (November): 797-823.
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