Engendering the Buddhist State
Reconstructions of Cambodian History
Routledge – 2015 – 240 pages
Drawing from more than a decade of field and archival research, this monograph concerns Cambodian history and historiography, with an ultimate aim to broadening and deepening bases for understanding the Cambodian Theravadin politico-cultural complex. The book takes the form of an interdisciplinary cultural analysis of a number of performative and representational strategies for constituting social collectivities. This analysis involves extended close readings of a wide range of cultural artifacts including epigraphic and manuscript texts, sculpture and ritual practices. Thompson proposes a critical reevaluation of dominant paradigms of Cambodian historiography in view of engendering new histories, or hybrid histories, which make room for previously absent perspectives and voices, while developing new theoretical tools engaging with and partially derived from 'indigenous' narrative practices in the broadest sense. In this history-making process the historical event is shown to never be entirely separable from its aesthetic representation. Particular attention is paid to the roles of sexual difference in such (re)constructions of history.
Introduction: Reinventing the Wheel Part 1: Early Geobodies 1. Textual Foundations 2.Sovereign Arts 3. Bodily Remains Part 2: Post-Angkor 4. The Fate of the Linga-Yoni Ensemble 6. From Temple to Text: Reconstructing Angkor Vat 7. Normative/Performative: On the Ramayana in Cambodia 8. Verbose Silencing: On the Genre of Cpap’
Ashley Thompson is Director of Research at the School of Fine Art, University of Leeds, UK.