A publication that conceptualizes Angkor Wat within the modern construct of cultural heritage. It establishes the temple's history from the discovery and its role as a archaeological park by French colonial archaeologists, and as a global icon of contemporary heritage schemes within a newly born Cambodian nation.
This book 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 dimensions of the 12th Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat during its modern history, the study argues for a conceptual, connected history that unfolded 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, to on-site restoration efforts inside the `Archaeological Park of Angkor', the temple's canonisation as a symbol of national identity during Cambodia's decolonisation, and as a global icon of UNESCO World Heritage.
Michael Falser, University of Heidelberg.