Workshop> Legal Orders in Precolonial Southeast Asia (June 14–15, EFEO/SAC, Bangkok)

DC Lammerts Discussion

Dear Colleagues,


The EFEO/SAC Workshop on Legal Orders in Precolonial Southeast Asia will be held June 14–15, 2023 at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) in Bangkok, Thailand, in association with the DHARMA project (ERC 809994).


Directed by Gregory Kourilsky (EFEO) and D. Christian Lammerts (Rutgers), the principal aim of the workshop is to establish and deepen conversations among scholars currently engaged in research on the legal history of Southeast Asia during the period prior to the emergence of colonial and modern legal systems.


The workshop is open to the public and we invite interested students and scholars to join us in-person at the SAC. The program follows below.



D. Christian Lammerts, Rutgers University

Gregory Kourilsky, École française d'Extrême-Orient


Legal Orders in Precolonial Southeast Asia

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre / EFEO, Bangkok

20 Borommaratchachonnani Rd, Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170

June 14–15, 2023


Wednesday 14

9.00 – 9.15        Registration

9.15 – 9.30        Welcome address, by Dr Komatra Chuengsatiansup (SAC)

9.30 – 9.45        Opening Speech, by Gregory Kourilsky (EFEO)

9.45 – 10.00      General presentation, by Christian Lammerts (Rutgers University)


Session 1/ Law in space: boundaries, endowments, property        (Chair, Chris Baker)

10.00 – 10.40    “Land Tenure System in the Malay Peninsula: A Comparative Analysis of Four Codes of Law”, Elsa Clavé (UniversitätHamburg)

Coffee break

10.50 – 11.30    “The Legal Order of the Majapahit State (East Java, 13th through 15th centuries)”, Arlo Griffiths (EFEO) & Nurmalia Habibah (Universitas Gadjah Mada)

11.30 – 12.10    “Documents of Wat Namrop (Phunphin, Suratthani): Law and the Enforcement of the Royal Court’s Authority over Monasteries in Southern Siam”, Santi Pakdeekham (Office of the Royal Society) & Thissana Weerakietsoontorn (Ramkhamhaeng University)


Lunch break


Session 2/ Law in time: stasis, adaptation, reform                    (Chair, Arlo Griffiths)

13.30 – 14.10    “When the Khmer Kings Made the Laws, As Much As the Laws Made the Khmer King: The Reconfiguration of Royal Sovereignty Through the Seventeenth-Century Khmer Legal Codes”, Gregory Mikaelian (CNRS)

14.10 – 14.50    “What is the Three Seals Law? Learnings from Translation”, Chris Baker (Independent scholar) & Pasuk Phongpaichit (Chulalongkorn University)

Coffee break

15.00 – 15.40    “The Word of the Buddha, the Voice of the King, the Ear of the People: A Diachronic Typology of Premodern Lao Law”, Gregory Kourilsky (EFEO)

15.40 – 16.20    “Anachak Lak Kham: A Nineteenth-Century Customary Law Code from the Northern Thai State of Nan”, Volker Grabowsky (Universität Hamburg)


Thursday 15

9.00 – 9.20        Registration

9.20 – 9.30        General presentation


Session 3/ Law in relation: identities, peripheries, negotiations      (Chair, Christian Lammerts)

9.30 – 10.10      “Textual Modes of Javanese Legal Ordering”, Tim Lubin (Washington and Lee University)

10.10 – 10.50    “Penghulu Court, Islam, and Customary Law in Cirebon: a Critical Review of Criminal Case in 1794”, Hazmirullah (Independent Scholar)

Coffee break

11.00 – 11.40    “Relation between Thai and Khmer Laws in Manuscripts from the Early Rattanakosin Era”, Chatpisit Pachanee (Silpakorn University)

11.40 – 12.20    “Gender, Legal Hybridity, & Lineality in Panduranga: Cham Sovereignty & Vietnamese Settler Colonialism in the Early Modern Era”, Nhung Tuyet Tran (University of Toronto)

Lunch break

Session 4/ Law in language: voice, performance, rhetoric            (Chair, Gregory Kourilsky)

13.30 – 14.10    “A Corpus of Texts Conveying Lao Royal Authority: the rāja-ājñā”, Michel Lorrillard (EFEO)

14.10 – 14.50    "Lak Chai or The Victorious Principle of Judgement: The Legal Handbook of Ayutthaya”, Trongjai Hutangkura (SAC) & Wipada Onwimol (Independent Scholar)

Coffee break

15.00 – 15.40    “’May Your Child Be Born Without Head, Legs, Vagina, or Penis’: The Use of Curses in Mandarese Legal Treatises”, Muhammad Buana (Leiden University & KITLV)

15.40 – 16.20    “Narrative as Witness in the Inheritance Chapter of a Seventeenth-century Burmese and Arakanese Legal Treatise”, Christian Lammerts (Rutgers University)

16.20    Concluding remarks and closing speech