Sunday, December 2, 2018, 3:00pm
Alan Kolata, Anthropology, University of Chicago
Title: KIngship and Compassion: The Paradox of Jayavarman VII, Emperor of Angkor
After destroying multiple political rivals from neighboring kingdoms in Thailand and Vietnam, the Southeast Asian monarch known as Jayavarman VII (c.1125 to 1218 CE) reigned over the largest geographical expanse ever attained by the Angkorean Empire. Jayavarman VII’s instruments of rule simultaneously deployed extreme violence and profound compassion, brutal warfare and vigorous economic development. This talk will explore the contradictions and paradoxes of Jayavarman VII’s religious “infrastructure of compassion” that, for a time, held the empire of Angkor together, but ultimately fell into desuetude under the burden of its own ideology and the extreme “piety” of its patron. The life history of Jayavarman VII offers insight into the nature of rule and the role of religion in the construction and eventual disintegration of empire.
Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Departments of Anthropology, Art History, and FLL/Classics at UWM