Home / About / People / Faculty / Samson Lim



Research Interests:
Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences
Discipline: History
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Samson Lim is an Associate Professor of History at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He received his Ph.D. in History at Cornell University. His research examines the connections between technology, capitalism, and culture. His first book, Siam’s New Detectives: Visualizing Crime and Conspiracy in Modern Thailand (University of Hawaii Press, 2016), is a history of the visual culture of policing in Thailand between during the early 20th century. He is currently working on a new project, which will be a cultural history of capitalism and the money economy as seen through the lens of financial crimes in early twentieth century Bangkok. He is also a member of the Opportunity Lab at SUTD, a centre at SUTD that encourages social change through design projects throughout Asia.


  • PhD, Department of History, Cornell University (2012)
  • MA, Department of History, Cornell University (2008)
  • Certificate of Completion, Thai Studies Program, Thammasat University (2005)
  • MRP, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University (1996)
  • BA, Department of Political Science (cum laude), University of California at Los Angeles (1994)

Selected Publications


Ruins of Capital: A Cultural History of Technology and Finance in Twentieth Century Thailand, in progress.

Siam’s New Detectives: Visualizing Crime and Conspiracy in Modern Thailand, University of Hawaii Press, February 2016.





Peer Reviewed Articles

“Photography and Forgery in Early Twentieth Century Thailand,” under revision for Technology and Culture.

“Murder! in Thailand’s Vernacular Press,” Journal of Asian Studies 73.2 (May 2014): 359-376.

“Detective Fiction, the Police, and Secrecy in Early Twentieth Century Siam,” Southeast Asia Research 20.1 (2012): 83-102.

“History of Conspiracy,” Sensate (2012), retrieved at http://sensatejournal.com/2012/08/mue-meut-history-conspiracy/

“Time’s Arrow and the Burden of the Past: A Primer on the Thai Un-state,” with Craig Reynolds and team, Sensate (2012), retrieved at http://sensatejournal.com/2012/05/craig-reynolds-et-al-times-arrow/

“The Case of Volunteer 8: Proof, Violence, and History in Thai Society,” Critical Asian Studies 43.3 (2011): 399-420.

“The Development of the Police Detective Unit in Siam from 1880 to the End of 1932,” Sri Pathum Social Sciences Review 9.2 (2010): 76-87.

“Siam’s New Detectives: Police Work and the Press form 1890-1950,” Rian Thai: Journal of the Institute of Thai Studies 2 (2009): 297-329.

Online Content and Other Articles

“The Police,” for the “Thai Institutions” series on the New Mandala website, http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala, 2010.

“The Murder of Sherry Ann Duncan and Prospects for Due Process in Criminal Trials,” Thai Law Forum, Chainat and Leeds, Bangkok, Thailand, October, 2009.

“Suvarnabhumi-Bangkok International Airport: Impact on Bangkok’s Commercial Property Markets,” Jones Lang LaSalle Publications, Bangkok, Thailand, July, 2005.

Book Chapters

Chronicle of Thailand: A History of Thailand from 1946 to 2008, Editions Didier Millet Publishers, Singapore 2009 (writer for years 1946, 1950-1959, 1978, 2008).

Book Reviews

Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, The Palace Law of Ayutthaya and the Thammasat (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016), for Journal of Siam Society, 2017.

Benedict Anderson, Exploration and Irony in Studies of Siam over Forty Years (Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2014), in Asian Studies Review, 2015.