Review of Ashley Thompson’s Engendering the Buddhist State

My review of Dr. Ashley Thompson‘s new book, Engendering the Buddhist State: territory, sovereignty and sexual difference in the inventions of Angkor, is up on the Religion Journal Taylor & Francis website. The first fifty visits can download the content for free.

Dr. Thompson is an extremely knowledgeable and well-respected scholar of Cambodia, and especially of the Middle Period between the decline of Angkor and the imposition of the colonial period. As in her book, the lecture below uses the Cambodian statuary tradition as a basis for her discussions, which range from the proper way to think about the relationship between Angkor and the larger ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’ in which it partook, as well as a range of other central issues.

Her book also uses inscriptions, spirit possession, healing rituals, and more as the evidential bases for discussions of key points in Cambodian historiography and study.



“Deathpower” inteview on the New Books Network


I had a lovely interview with Luke Thompson of the New Books in Buddhist Studies podcast, part of the New Books Network, on my book “Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia,” from Columbia University Press (2015) [If purchasing, I suggest going to the CUP page and using the coupon code DAVDEA for 30% off].

This is my first released audio interview, and I’ll confess I was quite nervous going into it. Hopefully we covered the contents of the book in a way that seems sensible to others.


A collection of articles

I’ve been talking to reporters a bit, lately. Here are some articles that resulted.

The cycle of rice: Part 3: Rice For the Spirits“, an article on Pchum Ben by Anthony Jensen and Kang Sothear, photos by John Vink, whose photographic series on “The Cycle of Rice” extends (far) beyond this article.

And, a nice short video!

Cambodian Pchum Ben festival is a time to feed hungry ghosts, another article on Pchum Ben, by Nathan Thompson

Buddhist monks, death rituals and black magic in Cambodia, by Erin Hale, a series of short answers excerpted from a lengthier interview on Deathpower.

Grave Lines: The democratization of Cambodia’s Coffin Industry, by Maddy Crowell and Mom Kunthear

The bewitching allure of magic tattoos, by Harriet Fitch Little, on the fad of non-Khmer getting ‘traditional’ Sak Yoan (Sak Yantra) tattoos.



Launching Deathpower in Cambodia

I’m particularly pleased that the first event for my recently published book, Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia [ahem: there’s a coupon code on that page], (available from the publisher, Columbia UP, here / Amazon here) will be in Cambodia itself. That feels not only appropriate to me, but important.

Tuesday, 19 January, 7 PM, at Meta House.

The work this book represents depends centrally and non-negotiably on those in Cambodia who spoke at length with me over the more than three years of fieldwork that constituted my engagement with the topic in Cambodia (primarily 2003-2006, but in shorter trips after that period as well). More particularly, it could never have been done without the tenacity, intelligence, and research of my friend and fellow-researcher Heng Chhun Oeurn, who worked with me throughout that period. She’s agreed to attend the book launch, though I’m not yet certain she’ll be willing to join me in addressing the audience, as I have asked.

So: if you’re in Phnom Penh or the nearby environs tomorrow night, at 7 PM, please join us at Meta House for the launch, organized by Mekong Review and Monument Books. And come up to say hello if you like.