Religious Change, Theravada Buddhism, Political Economy, and Urban Transformation in Early Modern Cambodia (15th-18th century)


ACLS Fellowship Program


Center for Southeast Asian Studies


This transdisciplinary research studies changes in urban organization from the Angkorian to the Early Modern period in Angkor, Cambodia. Blending archaeological methods with remote sensing data analysis, this project documents urban re-organization and religious change in the former capital that occurred with the 15th-century collapse of Angkor, SE Asia’s largest premodern empire. As political centers moved south, region-wide changes transformed Greater Angkor into a pilgrimage center. This research focuses on how Angkor's urban neighborhoods changed form and scale by excavating inside Angkor Wat, which became an international pilgrimage site. The field components of this project involve capacity-building for young Cambodian archaeologists and students to study ancient urbanism and how Angkor became the symbol of Cambodia’s national heritage.