Announcements Research

April 24, 2018 at 9:29 pm

Rattanasengchanh Awarded Contemporary History Institute’s Klinder Dissertation Fellowship

Phimmasone Michael Rattanasengchanh, portrait

Phimmasone Michael Rattanasengchanh

The 2018-19 Klinder Dissertation Fellowship goes to Phimmasone Michael Rattanasengchanh, a doctoral student in the History Department.

This year’s award marks the inauguration of the fellowship, whose endowment was established in the 1990s to fund a dissertation writing year for Ohio University doctoral students enrolled in the Contemporary History Institute Certificate program. The fellowship covers tuition and provides a stipend for the academic year.

Rattanasengchanh’s dissertation is titled “U.S.-Thai Public Diplomacy: The Making of an Anti-Communist and Military-Monarchical State, 1957-1979.” Therein he explores the role of U.S.-Thai government relations in containing communism in the Southeast Asian kingdom and their relative success compared with communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laosduring the same period.

For Rattanasengchanh, public diplomacy efforts were critical components in winning the hearts and minds of the Thai people, a strategy that paralleled military counterinsurgency. He explores some of the chief organizations involved, including the United States Information Agency and the Thai Ministry of Interior. Through mass media, the USIA and Thai MOI propagated an American way of life, reinforced Thai nationalism, and promoted U.S.-Thai government policies. Rattanasengchanh’s dissertation argues that public diplomacy was an important tool used by both governments to convince Thais of the goodwill of the United States, the legitimacy of the Thai military regime and monarchy, and the dangers of communism.

Rattanasengchanhhas completed examination fields in U.S. foreign relations history, international military history, and Southeast Asian history. He also earned a graduate certificate in contemporary history from the Contemporary History Institute. Rattanasengchanhhas is writing his dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Chester Pach, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University.

For more on the History Department’s graduate program, visit the department website.

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