Northwestern Events Calendar


Visiting lecturer: Michael Falser (Interim Professor of Global Art History, Heidelberg University)

Image credit: Angkor Wat in the International Colonial Exhibition, Paris 1931 (private collection M.Falser)

When: Thursday, May 9, 2019
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM  

Where: Kresge Hall, Kresge 2350 (Kaplan seminar room), 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Mary Clare Meyer   847.491.3230

Group: Department of Art History

Category: Academic


Angkor Wat from Jungle Find to Global Icon

This presentation unravels the formation of the modern concept of cultural heritage by charting its colonial, postcolonial-nationalist and global trajectories. By bringing to light many unresearched di-mensions of the 12th Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat during its modern history, this presenta-tion argues for a new conceptual approach to read “cultural heritage” within a connected, global history that unfolded in this case-study within the transcultural interstices of European and Asian projects. It discusses the multiple lives of Angkor Wat from its ‘discovery’ in the 19th century, and its physical representations in museums and universal/colonial exhibitions in France (see photo), to on-site French-colonial and past-colonial restoration efforts inside the ‘Archaeological Park of Angkor’ until 1970, the temple’s canonization as a symbol of national identity during Cambodia’s decolonization, and as a global icon being produced during the late Cold War period and, since 1992, as a shining star on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

As a trained preservation architect and art/architectural historian, Michael Falser is a lecturer of global architectural history and cultural heritage studies at the Institute of European Art History at Heidelberg University. In 2018/19, he was Interim Professor at the Chair of Global Art History within the Heidelberg Centre of Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University/Germany where he worked for many years as project leader before embarking on visiting professorships at the universities of Vienna, Kyoto, Bordeaux and Paris-Sorbonne. Besides a focus on the Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat and its transcultural history of heritage (see the upcoming book publication at DeGruyter in July 2019), his research also focuses on late-colonial, regionalist and postmodern building practices and styles in the Euro-Asian contact zone. His general research foci are on transculturality as a research paradigm, global art and architectural history, historic architectural preservation, industrial archaeology and the history, philosophy and practice of cultural heritage.

Organized by Professor S. Hollis Clayson.

Image credit: Angkor Wat in the International Colonial Exhibition, Paris 1931 (private collection M.Falser).

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