Ian Nathaniel Lowman
- New Faculty Fellow
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
From China to the Sea: Territory, Ethnicity, and Memory in the Political Imagination of Angkorian Cambodia Ninth through Fifteenth Centuries C.E.
This dissertation explores the changing political culture of Cambodia during the state's expansion in the Angkorian-period (ninth through fifteenth centuries C.E.) and critiques a model of political culture that has informed comparative studies of early Southeast Asia. This model envisions a political-cultural formation stretching from South Asia to Southeast Asia, based on a shared tradition of Sanskrit literature and cosmology and characterized by a myriad of unique centers each claiming universal power. Cambodia of the Angkorian period has been seen to embody and epitomize this culture, which is often presented as the premodern antithesis to the bounded nation. Curiously, there has been no systematic study of the universalist model within the early Cambodian context to gauge its relevance. This study offers an alternative picture of early Cambodian political culture by examining how territorial, ethnic, and historical consciousness contributed to that culture. It argues that the Angkorian period signaled a transition from a style of charismatic, universalist politics to one characterized by community and self-defInition.
PhD, South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley appointed in Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Dissertation: "The Descendants of Kambu: The Political Imagination of Angkorian Cambodia"