Professor Tyrell Haberkorn of University of Wisconsin delivers this PSC Seminar.

On the first anniversary of the coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the junta that launched the 22 May 2014 coup in Thailand, Resistant Citizen, a coalition of sixteen activists, lawyers, artists, and survivors of state violence filed charges of treason and rebellion against the NCPO. The first half of this talk places Resistant Citizen’s struggle in the seventy-year history of attempts to hold coupmakers to account. Despite amnesty laws passed with each coup to foreclose accountability, Resistant Citizen and others who have brought cases advance an idea of the people’s sovereignty that refuses its destruction by an illegal seizure of power by a handful of military generals. The protection of state officials from being impugned, never the protection or even recognition of the people as equal members of the polity, remains constant across the decisions. In this case, too, the Supreme Court adhered to historical precedent and dismissed Resistant Citizen’s charges against the NCPO. In contrast, a jurisprudence of accountability would center the people and accord weight to the damage sustained by individuals and the polity by coups. Drawing on feminist judgment methodology, the second half of this talk offers several new decisions rendered in the name of a Court by and for the People that reverse precedent and writes towards a different future in which sovereignty is not reduced to brute force, but is a shared project between the rulers and the ruled.


Tyrell Haberkorn is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Co-Chair of the Human Rights Program, and Coordinator of the Justice in Southeast Asia Lab at the University of Wisconsin. Tyrell researches and writes about state violence and dissident cultural politics in Thailand from the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932 until the present. She is the author of Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law and Violence (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011) and In Plain Sight: Impunity and Human Rights in Thailand (University of Wisconsin Press, 2018). Her book, Dictatorship on Trial, a condensed history of injustice during the recent dictatorship of the National Council for Peace and Order in the form of rewritten court judgments, will be out with Stanford University Press in June 2024. She is currently translating Prontip Mankhong’s prison memoir, All They Could Do To Us [มันทำร้ายเราได้แค่นี้แหละ]. Tyrell also writes and translates frequently about Southeast Asia for a public audience, including Dissent, Foreign Affairs, Mekong Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, openDemocracy, and Prachatai. She has received fellowships from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, Association for Asian Studies, Australian Research Council, Einstein Forum, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Institute for Advanced Study at Central European University, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact the event organiser.

Event details

Event date

Tue, 26 Mar 2024, 12:30 - 2pm

Related Academic Area