In October 2017, the Power Institute hosted Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories, the first symposium of its kind. The three day program was launched by a keynote address from Professor Ashley Thompson, the Hiram W. Woodward Chair in Southeast Asian Art at SOAS, University of London. Thompson’s lecture, Figuring the Buddha, examined the historical unfolding of the Buddha’s story in a range of Cambodian contexts, its various portrayals that render it beyond traditional gender binaries, and the social challenges that come with this.
The symposium’s international program aimed to establish the parameters of current research, and to develop inter-disciplinary and transnational frameworks for future studies in the field of Gender and Southeast Asian Art History. Bringing together a range of scholars working on the pre-modern, modern, and contemporary, the symposium considered new perspectives and methodological approaches brought to the fore in art history through studies that are attentive to gender, and how we might reassess art historical narratives through the lens of gender.
The event was generously supported by the Asian Studies Association of Australia, the Power Institute, the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, the School of Literature, and Art and Media and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.