Professor Irene Stengs

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Institutional Affiliation:  Meertens Instituut/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Irene Stengs is Professor by Special Appointment in “Anthropology of Ritual and Popular Culture”, at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and Senior Researcher at the Meertens Institute (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). In her research, in Thailand and in the Netherlands, she focusses on popular religiosity, material culture, commemorative ritual and processes of heritage formation. Among her publications are Worshipping the Great Modernizer. King Chulalongkorn, Patron-Saint of the Thai Middle Class (NUS Press, 2009), and The Secular Sacred. Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion (co-editor with Markus Balkenhol, Ernst van den Hemel, Palgrave 2020).

Current research projects on modern monarchy (including the name of any funding bodies which support the research):

The Politics of Royal Cuteness in present-day Thailand

The Political Iconography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

Forthcoming, current or recent research publications on modern monarchy:

“Colours of Transition. Thailand’s Ritualized Royalism under the New Reign”. In: Making Colours. Chromatics Ethnographies. Young, D. and P. Oakley (editors). (Sean Kingston Publishing, forthcoming).

“Dramatizing Siamese Independence. Thai Postcolonial Perspectives on Kingship”. In: Monarchies and Decolonization in Asia, Aldrich, R. and McCreery, C. (editors). (Manchester University Press, 2020).

“United in Competitive Mourning: Commemorative Spectacle in Tribute to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand”. In: The Secular Sacred: Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion Balkenhol, M., Hemel, E. van and Stengs, I. (editors), 2020.

“The Golden Coach: Royal Ritual and Heritage in Motion”. In: The Golden Coach, (Amsterdam Museum, WBooks, 2021).



Dr Cindy McCreery
Department of History, A18 Brennan MacCallum Building, University of Sydney