Penny Edwards, Faculty Research Seminar, Australian National University, November 2023

Research Expertise and Interest

political and cultural history of Southeast Asia, French colonialism, British imperialism, French India, British India, comparative colonialism, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Chinese diaspora, cinema and theatre, Material and Visual Culture, travel and translation, gender, nationalism, Buddhism, economic history, global history

Research Description

Penny Edwards is a cultural historian specializing in Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia and Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia.  In Fall 2023 she is teaching two courses on performance in Southeast Asia, the Gateway class SEA 101A and the Graduate Seminar SSEAS 250. 

PUBLICATIONS 2022 - 2023

Penny Edwards is guest editor, with Alok Bhalla, ko ko thett and Kenneth Wong, of "In the Silence: International Fiction, Poetry, Prose and Performance"  a special issue of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing (34-1)   Penny's review of Aurore Candier’s La réforme politique en Birmanie pendant le premier moment colonial (1819-1878), Paris, EFEO appeared in the Journal of Burma Studies, Volume 27, No. 1,  2023  Her recent publications include the chapter “Inarguably Angkor” in The Angkorian World edited by Damien Evans, Miriam Stark and Mitch Hendrickson (Routledge)  was published in March 2023 and the reflection essay Beyond Words: Going Off Script in Theravada Southeast Asia,  in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 53 (1-2), 344-348. and her translation of Soth Polin's novel  L'anarchiste (Paris: Table Ronde, 2011) in  Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing "From The Anarchist." Manoa, vol. 34 no. 1, 2022, p. 168-175. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/man.2021.0056.


Kingdoms of the Mind: Burma’s fugitive prince and the fracturing of empire, forthcoming with Columbia University Press is a cultural history of exile and empire that moves between nineteenth century Burma, the British Raj, the courts of Windsor and Bangkok, Kingdoms follows a prince on the run through penal colonies and stowaway cabins to corners of French India and the borders of Indochina, mapping networks of adventure capital, spiritual belief and political kinship that would ultimately topple empire in South and Southeast Asia.  Highlighting the porosity of borders, the flexibility of networks and the resilience of non-state actors, Kingdoms unsettles area studies frameworks and challenges the persistence of colonial boundaries and nations as frameworks of analysis for the modern history of South and Southeast Asia.  Penny discusses key themes in her book in this podcast

The Anarchist, Penny's translation of Soth Polin's novel L'anarchiste, is forthcoming with Gazebo Books, Sydney, Australia.

Her first book Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008) is a cultural history that argued for a role and space for Cambodian intellectuals, monks and journalists in the making of the Cambodian nation under colonial rule. Awarded the 2009 Harry J. Benda Prize by the Association of Asian Studies for its bold intervention in Southeast Asian studies, Cambodge has had wide-ranging traction beyond the field  as a study of nationalism and colonalism 

Penny's Google Scholar profile is here


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