Examining the Personal Library of a Political Scientist and Researcher on Nationalism and the ASEAN Community: Donations by Professor Benedict Anderson to the Charnvit Kasetsiri Room of the Pridi Banomyong Library, Thammasat University
Keywords:Benedict Anderson, Charnvit Kasetsiri, Pridi Banomyong Library, Thammasat University.
After his death in 2015, the personal library of the eminent Irish political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson was donated to the Thammasat University Library in Bangkok by his friend and colleague, the Thai historian Charnvit Kasetsiri. As a result, books formerly belonging to Professor Anderson, which were once housed in his Bangkok apartment as well as his home in Freeville, New York, near the campus of Cornell University where he taught from 1967 to 2002, are now shelved in the Charnvit Kasetsiri Room of the Pridi Banomyong Library, Thammasat University. Students and lecturers benefit from this varied collection of nonfiction, literature, and popular novels which in their entirety give an intellectual portrait of Professor Anderson’s concerns and research subjects. By examining his preferred reading through his personal library, we may better understand his intellectual goals and priorities. These include a focus on literature in a wide variety of languages, the determined defense of minority rights internationally, and a fervent interest in the visual arts, all of which played a role in the research and writing of Benedict Anderson’s published work. Results were that examining this personal collection heightens our understanding of Professor Anderson as an author, although specific lines between works read by Professor Anderson and his own publications cannot be drawn with certitude due to lack of precise information about when he acquired each book. Nevertheless, a look at his own book collection provides a closer understanding of the mindset of a much-revered scholar. Future research might compare and contrast the books in the Benedict Anderson collection of the Pridi Banomyong Library with specific areas of research, such as gender studies or ASEAN nations.
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