Religious Influences in Thai Female Education (1889-1931)

By Runchana P. Suksod-Barger

A study of the role of religion in the development of female education in the Thai Modernisation Period, employing feminist theory and historical research.

ISBN: 9780227174869


A major study of the impact of religion on female access to education in Thailand from 1889 to 1931 – the early Modernisation Period in Thailand. Although Thailand is traditionally a Buddhist nation-state, Protestant missionaries during this era arrived in the country to convert Thais to Christianity. The Protestant belief in literacy to enable everyone to read the Bible, opened up educational opportunities for Thai girls that had not previously been available to them. Suksod-Barger investigates the degree to which Buddhist and Christian influences affected Thai educational reforms for girls in primary and secondary education during the early Modernisation Period, using a feminist theoretical framework to understand the social, political, economic, and religious impact. The study contributes to the exploration of the historical and contextual discourse of Buddhism and women in Thailand, the history of education for Thai females during the early Modernisation Period and the overview of Protestant missions in the country, particularly their influence in establishing systems of mass education.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 156

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Runchana P. Suksod-Barger is a guest faculty member in the Intercultural Studies Department at Wheaton College Graduate School, Illinois. She also currently serves as the English Language Institute programme administrator and coordinator of distance education. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural research, internationalisation, democratisation, technology, social justice, religion and gender in education.


List of Illustrations

1. Introduction
2. Conceptual Framework
3. Methodology
4. Complexity of Buddhism for Thai Females
5. Education, Buddhism, and Women
6. Protestant Work Ethic and Thai Missions
7. Enrollment Trends in Thai Education
8. Conclusion

Appendix A: Summary of Schools and Students in Thailand (1885-1912)
Appendix B: Students and Teachers by Grade Level in Thailand (1885-1933)
Enrollment Statistics of American Presbyterian Schools in Thailand (1899-1932)


Endorsements and Reviews

This book is a truly fine and creative treatise on religious influences on female education during a particularly formative period of educational modernisation and expansion in Thailand. Suksod-Barger’s application of the sociological concept of spiritual capital as a key instrument of her analysis is an imaginative and impressive piece of scholarship.
Erwin H. Epstein, Professor Emeritus, Center for Comparative Education, Loyola University, Illinois

Runchana Suksod-Barger’s significant study, Religious Influences in Thai Female Education (1889-1931), analyses the historically important relationship between traditional, exclusively male, Buddhist schooling; Protestant missionary schools that promoted female education; and politically astute Thai royalty, who ultimately embraced the transition to inclusion. Expert use of rare documents makes this a text critical to gender studies, education, missiology and political science.
Katherine T. Carroll, Professor, Loyola and Concordia Universities, Illinois

I found Suksod-Barger’s book well-written and its contents convincingly supported with evidence from historical sources.
R. Murray Thomas, in International Review of Education, Vol 62, Issue 1