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“Enacting Buddhism: Perspectives on Cambodian Buddhist Painting”

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There are a million things I want to write about Cambodia right now. But there are a lot of other things taking up my time and energy right now as well, so those writings must wait for the time being.

Instead, please allow me to promote this event, which will be taking place on January 31st at the Institute for East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. I’m particularly excited about the other panelists, who include many friends and good colleagues, such as Art Historian Boreth Ly, Art Historian Pattaratorn Chirapravati, Asian Studies Scholar Terri Yamada, Joel Montague, whose paintings compose the exhibit (and who shares my passion for hand-painted Cambodian signs, and just published a book on the subject), and Caverlee Cary, the chair.  Recently added to the lineup is the estimable young scholar Trent Walker, whose work on Smot (ស្មូត្រ) – Cambodian Funerary Songs – remains an astonishing accomplishment that combines art and scholarship.

I myself will be talking about Buddhist paintings as a capacious imaginal space (I draw the word imaginal here from Henri Corbin) for the imagination and creation of evolving identities, national, political, and of course, religious.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll consider attending, and perhaps even introducing yourself to me. 

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