More than 200 academics, students call for academic freedom after embattled Thai historian fired from Thammasat

As concerned international observers of Thailand, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have condemned the summary dismissal of Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul by Thammasat University on 23 February 2015. We have watched with growing concern as the space for freedom of expression has shrunk precipitously in Thailand since the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). By choosing to join with the NCPO to attack Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, the Thammasat University administration has abdicated its responsibility to protect academic freedom and nurture critical thinking. While academic freedom is not worthy of protection greater than that of the right to freedom of expression of all citizens, the impact of its destruction during a time of dictatorship is particularly severe as it prevents students and scholars, those whose daily job is to think about knowledge and its implications, from imagining and working to return to a democratic regime founded on the protection of rights and liberties. 
 
For more than twenty years, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul has been a lecturer in the Department of History and has trained and inspired many students at Thammasat University. As a public intellectual, he has produced a significant body of work in modern Thai history that has impacted and challenged Thai society beyond the walls of the university. His critical stance has made those in power uncomfortable, and in 2011 he faced an accusation from the Army of violating Article 112, the section of the Criminal Code that addresses alleged lèse majesté. In February 2014, there was an attempt on his life when armed gunmen shot at his house and car with automatic weapons. Concerned about his life and liberty following the May 2014 coup, Dr. Somsak fled the country. He was subsequently summoned to report by the junta, and when he did not, the NCPO issued a warrant for his arrest and appearance in military court, as examination of violations of the junta’s orders was placed within the jurisdiction of the military court following the coup. In December 2014, he submitted his resignation. However, rather than accept his resignation, Thammasat University fired Dr. Somsak. 
 
We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who note that, at the very least, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul should be permitted to appeal the decision by Thammasat University to summarily dismiss him. In addition, he should be permitted to fight any legal charges against him in the civilian criminal court, not the military court. We further call on Thammasat University and all universities in Thailand to take an active and leading role in support of academic freedom and freedom of expression in a broad sense. To think differently is not a crime. If one cannot do so within the walls of the university, spaces of learning and the pursuit of truth, then the space to do so outside those walls will dwindle as well.
 
Signed,
 
 
1. Patricio N. Abinales, Professor, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii-Manoa
 
2. Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
 
3. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
4. Robert B. Albritton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi
 
5. Saowanee T. Alexander, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand
 
6. Tariq Ali, Author
 
7. Aries A. Arugay, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines-Diliman
 
8. Indrė Balčaitė, PhD candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
9. Joshua Barker, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
 
10. Veysel Batmaz, Professor, Istanbul University, Turkey
 
11. Bryce Beemer, History Department, Colby College
 
12. Trude Bennett, Emeritus Professor, School of Public Health, UNC
 
13. Clarinda Berja, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines-Manila.
 
14. Kristina Maud Bergeron, Agente de recherche et chercheuse associée, Chaire en entrepreneuriat minier UQAT-UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal
 
15. Chris Berry, Professor, Department of Film Studies, King's College London
 
16. Robert J. Bickner, Emeritus Professor (Thai), Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin
 
17. David J.H. Blake, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom
 
18. John Borneman, Professor of Antbropology, Princeton University
 
19. Katherine Bowie, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
20. Francis R. Bradley, Assistant Professor of History, Pratt Institute
 
21. Eloise A. Brière, Professor of French and Francophone Studies Emerita, University at Albany – SUNY
 
22. Lisa Brooten, Associate Professor, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University 
 
23. Andrew Brown, Lecturer in Political and International Studies, University of New England
 
24. James Brown, PhD Candidate, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
25. Din Buadaeng, Université Paris-Diderot (Paris 7)
 
26. Michael Burawoy, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
 
27. David Camroux, Associate Professor - Senior Researcher, Sciences Po
 
28. Rosa Cordillera Castillo, PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin
 
29. Danielle Celermajer, Professor and Director, Enhancing Human Rights Project, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney
 
30. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
 
31. Thak Chaloemtiarana, Professor, Cornell University
 
32. Anita Chan, Research Professor, China-Australia Relations Institute (ACRI), University of Technology, Sydney
 
33. Pandit Chanrochanakit, Visiting Scholar Thai Studies Program, Asia Center, Harvard University (Faculty of Political Science Ramkhamhaeng University)
 
34. Nick Cheesman, Research Fellow, Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
35. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), MIT
 
36. Lawrence Chua, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
 
37. Nerida M. Cook, Ph.D.
 
38. Simon Creak, Lecturer in Southeast Asian History, University of Melbourne 
 
39. Robert Cribb, Professor of Asian History, Australian National University
 
40. Linda Cuadra, MA Student, University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies
 
41. Robert Dayley, Professor of Political Economy, The College of Idaho
 
42. Yorgos Dedes, Senior Lecturer in Turkish, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
43. Arif Dirlik, Knight Professor of Social Science, Retired, University of Oregon
 
44. Rick Doner, Professor, Department of Political Science, Emory University
 
45. Ariel Dorfman, Author and Distinguished Professor, Duke University
 
46. Ana Dragojlovic, UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland
 
47. Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut
 
48. Richard Dyer, Professor, King's College London and St. Andrews, Fellow of the British Academy
 
49. Taylor M. Easum, Assistant Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
 
50. Nancy Eberhardt, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Knox College
 
51. Eli Elinoff, National University of Singapore 
 
52. Olivier Evrard, Insitut de recherche pour le Développement, France
& Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences
 
53. Nicholas Farrelly, Fellow, ANU
 
54. Jessica Fields, Associate Professor, Sociology, San Francisco State University
 
55. Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
56. Amanda Flaim, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy
 
57. Tim Forsyth, Professor, International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science
 
58. Arnika Fuhrmann, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Cornell University
 
59. V.V. Ganeshananthan, Writer, Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
 
60. Paul K. Gellert, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
 
61. Charles Geisler, Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell University
 
62. Henry Giroux, Author and Professor, McMaster University
 
63. Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
 
 
64. Jim Glassman, Professor, University of British Columbia
 
65. Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
 
66. Merly Guanumen, Professor of International Relations, Javeriana University
 
67. Tessa Maria Guazon, Assistant Professor, Department of Art Studies College of Arts and Letters University of the Philippines-Diliman
 
68. Geoffrey Gunn, Emeritus, Nagasaki University
 
69. Tyrell Haberkorn, Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
70. Vedi Hadiz, Professor of Asian Societies and Politics, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
 
71. Jeffrey Hadler, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, U.C. Berkeley
 
72. Paul Handley, Journalist and Author
 
73. Eva Hansson, Senior Lecturer, Political Science and Coordinator, Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University
 
74. Harry Harootunian, Max Palevsky Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Chicago
 
75. Gillian Hart, Professor of Geography, University of California-Berkeley
 
76. Yoko Hayami, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
 
77. Chris Hedges, Author
 
78. Ariel Heryanto, Professor, School of Culture, History, and Language, Australian National University 
 
79. Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
 
80. Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University
 
81. Allen Hicken, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan
 
82. CJ Hinke, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT), Independent scholar
 
83. Philip Hirsch, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sydney
 
84. Tessa J. Houghton, Director, Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
 
85. May Adadol Ingawanij, Reader, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster
 
86. Noboru Ishikawa, Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
 
87. Sunisa Ittichaiyo, Ph.D. student, Faculty of Law, Augsburg University
 
88. Soren Ivarsson, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
 
89. Peter A. Jackson, Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
 
90. Arthit Jiamrattanyoo, Ph.D. Student, University of Washington
 
91. Lee Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Queen Mary, University of London
 
92. Andrew Alan Johnson, Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College
 
93. Hjorleifur Jonsson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
 
94. Teresa Jopson, PhD candidate at the Australian National University
 
95. Sarah Joseph, Professor, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
 
96. Amanda Joy, Instructor and PhD Candidate, Carleton University
 
97. Alexander Karn, Assistant Professor of History, Colgate University
 
98. Tatsuki Kataoka, Associate Professor of the Graduate School of
Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University
 
99. Ward Keeler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas-Austin
 
100. Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington
 
101. Akkharaphong Khamkhun, Pridi Banomyong International College, Thammasat University
 
102. Gaik Cheng Khoo, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
 
103. Sherryl Kleinman, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
104. Lars Peter Laamann, Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
105. John Langer, Independent researcher and broadcaster
 
106. Tomas Larsson, Lecturer, University of Cambridge
 
107. Pinkaew Laungaramsri, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
108. Doreen Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Northeastern University
 
109. Namhee Lee, Associate Professor of Modern Korean History, University of California, Los Angeles
 
110. Terence Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science, National University of Singapore
 
111. Christian C. Lentz, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
112. Busarin Lertchavalitsakul, PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam
 
113. Daniel J. Levine, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Alabama
 
114. Samson Lim, Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design
 
115. Peter Limqueco, Editor Emeritus, Journal of Contemporary Asia
 
116. Johan Lindquist, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
 
117. Kah Seng Loh, Assistant Professor at the Institute for East Asian Studies, Sogang University
 
118. Larry Lohmann, The Corner House
 
119. Tamara Loos, Associate Professor, History and Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University
 
120. Taylor Lowe, PhD Student in Anthropology, the University of Chicago
 
121. Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University
 
122. Chris Lyttleton, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Macquarie University
 
123. Regina Estorba Macalandag, Asia Center for Sustainable Futures, Assistant Professor, Holy Name University
 
124. Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Independent journalist and scholar
 
125. Ken MacLean Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change, Clark University
 
126. M F Makeen, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law, SOAS, University of London
 
127. Neeranooch Malangpoo, PhD. student, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
128. Amporn Marddent, School of Liberal Arts, Walailak University 
 
129. Jovan Maud, Lecturer, Institut für Ethnologie, Georg-August University
 
130. Duncan McCargo, Professor of Political Science, University of Leeds
 
131. Mary E. McCoy, Associate Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
132. Kaja McGowan, Associate Professor of Art History, Cornell University
 
133. Kate McGregor, University of Melbourne
 
134. Shawn McHale, Associate Professor of History, George Washington University
 
135. Gayatri Menon, Faculty, Azim Premji University
 
136. Eugenie Merieau, INALCO, Paris
 
137. Marcus Mietzner, Associate Professor, Australian National University
 
138. Elizabeth Miller, Previous Thai language student at Ohio University
 
139. Owen Miller, Lecturer in Korean Studies, Department of Japan and Korea, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
140. Mary Beth Mills, Professor of Anthropology, Colby College
 
141. Bruce Missingham, Lecturer, Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
 
142. Art Mitchells-Urwin, PhD candidate in Thai Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
143. Dan Monk, George R. and Myra T. Cooley Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Colgate University
 
144. Michael Montesano, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
 
145. Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University
 
146. Marjorie Muecke, Adjunct Professor, Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Paul G Rogers Ambassador for Global Health Research
 
147. Yukti Mukdawijitra, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
148. Laura Mulvey, Professor, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London
 
149. Ben Murtagh, Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
150. Fumio Nagai, Professor, Osaka City University
 
151. Kanda Naknoi, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut
 
152. Andrew Ng, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia
 
153. Don Nonini, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
154. Pál Nyiri , Professor of Global History from an Anthropological Perspective, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
 
155. Rachel O'Toole, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
 
156. Akin Oyètádé, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies
 
157. Jonathan Padwe, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaiˈi at Mānoa
 
158. Ajay Parasram, Doctoral Candidate, Carleton University Ottawa
 
159. Eun-Hong Park, Professor, Faculty of Social Science, Sungkonghoe University
 
160. Prasannan Parthassarathi, Professor of History, Boston College
 
161. Raj Patel, Research Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. 
 
162. Quentin Pearson III, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wheaton College
 
163. Thomas Pepinsky, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
 
164. Penchan Phoborisuth, University of Utah
 
165. Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University in the City of New York
 
166. Chalermpat Pongajarn, PhD candidate, Wageningen University
 
167. Pitch Pongsawat, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
168. Tim Rackett, UK
 
169. Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London
 
170. Malavika Reddy, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago
 
171. Luke Robinson, Lecturer, University of Sussex
 
172. Garry Rodan, Professor of Politics & International Studies, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
 
173. John Roosa, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of British Columbia
 
174. Robin Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, York University
 
175. Ulrich Karl Rotthoff, Assistant Professor, Asian Center, 
University of the Philippines 
 
176. Pakpoom Saengkanokkul, PhD student, INALCO, Paris, France
 
177. Jiratorn Sakulwattana, PhD student
 
178. Ton Salman, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
 
179. Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
 
180. Wolfram Schaffar, Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna
 
181. Sarah Schulman, City University of New York
 
182. James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University 
 
183. Raymond Scupin, Director, Center for International and Global Studies, Lindenwood University
 
184. Laurie J. Sears, Professor of History, Director, Southeast Asia Center, University of Washington
 
185. Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program, Cornell University
 
186. Yeoh Seng-Guan, Monash University Malaysia
 
187. Bo Kyeong Seo, Australian National University
 
188. John T. Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science
 
189. Roland G. Simbulan, Professor in Development Studies and Public Management, University of the Philippines
 
190. Subir Sinha, Senior Lecturer, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
191. Aim Sinpeng, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Sydney
 
192. Aranya Siriphon, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
193. Dan Slater, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago
 
194. Jay M. Smith, Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill
 
195. Claudio Sopranzetti, Postdoctoral Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University
 
196. Paul Stasi, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, SUNY-Albany
 
197. Irene Stengs, Senior Researcher, Meertens Institute/Research and Documentation of Language and Culture in the Netherlands/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
 
198. Carolyn Strange, Senior Fellow, School of History, Australian National University
 
199. Wanrug Suwanwattana, PhD student, Oxford University
 
200. David Szanton, UC Berkeley, emeritus
 
201. Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Ph.D.,  Professor of Asian Studies, 
University of the Philippines Diliman
 
202. Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman
 
203. Neferti Tadiar, Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University
 
204. Danielle Tan, Lecturer, Institute for East Asian Studies (IAO-ENS Lyon), Sciences Po Lyon
 
205. Michelle Tan
 
206. Tanabe Shigeharu, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
 
207. Nicola Tannenbaum, Professor of Anthropology, Lehigh University
 
208. Nicholas Tapp, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University, Director, Research Institute of Anthropology, East China Normal University
 
209. Ben Tausig, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University
 
210. Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and South East Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
 
211. Philip Taylor, Senior Fellow, Anthropology, Australian National University
 
212. Julia Adeney Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame
 
213. Barry Trachtenberg, Associate Professor, History Department, Director, Judaic Studies Program, University at Albany
 
214. Tran Thi Liên, Associate Professor, History of Southeast Asia,
University Paris Diderot-Paris 7 
 
215. Andrew Turton, Reader Emeritus in Social Anthropology at the University of London
 
216. Jonathan Unger, Professor, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
217. Jane Unrue, Harvard College Writing Program, Harvard University
 
218. Sara Van Fleet, University of Washington
 
219. Peter Vandergeest, Geography, York University, Toronto
 
220. Boonlert Visetpricha, PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin- Madison, Department of Anthropology
 
221. Joel Wainwright, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Ohio State University
 
222. Andrew Walker, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, The Australian National University
 
223. Kheetanat Wannaboworn, Master's Degree Student, Sciences Po Paris
 
224. Thomas Weber, DPhil
 
225. Meredith Weiss, Associate Professor of Political Science, University at Albany, SUNY
 
226. Marina Welker, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
 
227. Bridget Welsh, Senior Research Associate, Center for East Asia Demcracy, National Taiwan University
 
228. Marion Werner, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, SUNY
 
229. Frederick F. Wherry, Professor of Sociology, Yale University
 
230. Erick White, Visiting Fellow, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University 
 
231. Dhrista Wichterich, Gastprofessur Geschlechterpolitik, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Universität Kassel
 
232. Sutida Wimuttikosol, PhD student, King's College London
 
233. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
234. Hiram Woodward, Curator Emeritus, Asian Art, Walters Art Museum
 
235. Theodore Jun Yoo, University of Hawaii at Manoa
 
236. Karin Zackari, PhD candidate, Human Rights Studies, Department of History, Lund University
 
237. Peter Zinoman, Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
 
238. Rebecca Zorach, Professor of Art History, Romance Languages, and the College, University of Chicago