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Colloquium with Piphal Heng (NIU)

Thursday, May 7, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Fowler Museum A222
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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The early modern period involved critical global transformations. Southeast Asia was the key meeting place for East Asia and the West; its internal dynamism involved religion, politics, and demographics from the 15th-18th centuries. Fundamental shifts in religious and sociopolitical organization occurred in concert with intensified maritime trade and subsequent European colonialism. In Cambodia, the corresponding post-Angkorian period underwent multiple organizational shifts in the 15th to 16th centuries: the adoption of Theravāda Buddhism, the collapse of its regional Angkorian empire, a southward shift in population concurrent with an intensified participation in maritime trade, and a decline in stone temple constructions and inscriptions. Theravāda pagodas replaced and co-opted the Angkorian Hindu and Mahāyāna Buddhist temples to become loci of communities and centers of power. How did the Khmer state and people re-define itself? My historical archaeological work uses post-Angkorian pagoda-centered settlement organization as a lens for examining settlement organization and socioeconomic change, and complements text-based research in Early Modern Southeast Asia.

This presentation outlines the results of collaborative research with the Greater Angkor Project in Angkor as well as on-going Phum Archaeology Project in Angkor and Siem Reap town.

Piphal Heng currently holds a two-year American Council of Learned Societies-Robert H.N. Ho's Buddhist Studies postdoctoral fellowship at NIU-CSEAS (2019-2021). He received his PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa-Department of Anthropology in 2018. He graduated with a Degree in Archaeology in 2002 from the Faculty of Archaeology at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA), Cambodia. Heng was awarded a Fulbright fellowship in 2007 to pursue an MA degree at UHM Department of Anthropology. In 2009, a Harvard-Yenching Doctoral Fellowship funded the first 3.5 years of his PhD degree. Heng’s dissertation research explores the intersection between political economy, religion, and organizational change during the pre-Angkorian period based on temple economy, archaeology, epigraphy, ethnohistory, and settlement patterns. Heng’s interests lie in archaeological political economy, settlement patterns, state formation, and ceramic production and consumption. Cross-trained in history, epigraphy, and art history at the Cambodia Royal University of Fine Arts, Heng is interested in a multidisciplinary approach to study changes in the sociopolitical and economic system in Cambodia relative to other states in Southeast Asia. His current research focuses on organizational shift and political economy during the transition period to early modern Cambodia.





Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies