Ashley Thompson

Ashley Thompson is Hiram W Woodward Chair of Southeast Asian Art at SOAS University of London. She maintains a sustained research focus on premodern Cambodian arts and literatures, and complements this with more punctual work on the contemporary period and the arts of the larger Southeast Asian region. Her research is informed by deconstruction and psychoanalysis, and revolves around questions of memory, political and cultural transition, embodiment, sexual difference and subjectivity. Recent books include Engendering the Buddhist State: Territory, Sovereignty and Sexual Difference in the Inventions of Angkor (Routledge 2016) and two edited volumes, Early Theravadin Cambodia: Perspectives from Art and Archaeology (NUS Press 2022) and The Routledge Handbook of Theravada Buddhism (2022). She leads Circumambulating Objects: Paradigms of Restitution of Southeast Asian Art, a three-year research program funded by the Getty Foundation.


Calling the Earth to Witness

In relation to the Māravijaya, an occurrence in the Buddha’s life, and Letters from Panduranga, a video work by artist Nguyễn Trinh Thi, art historian Ashley Thompson discusses ideas of land, gender, and colonial history. Thompson’s essay is accompanied by a two-week screening of select clips from Nguyễn’s video work.