SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

An Archaeology of Phnom Penh’s Urban Form

Pen Sereypagna


Mr. Pen Sereypagna (Director of the Vann Molyvann Project)

Date: 7 March 2018Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 7 March 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

This seminar has been cancelled due to UCU strike action.


The current city’s form of Phnom Penh is a record of historical urban patrimonies overlaid onto the landscape of the city, making for a particularly diverse city. Phnom Penh’s urban form has become more complex and dynamic, layered and difficult to decipher. Those complexities can be studied as marked by different regimes of power, operating in different ways during different eras.

This presentation explores Phnom Penh’s urban form through archaeological approach from 14th century until today of urban transformation with a particular focus on the role of different layers in shaping the city. It examines the ruptures, continuities and discontinuities in the urban landscapes, institutions and spatial practices of Phnom Penh’s history as a religious (Theravada Buddhist), imperial (French), national capital (Sangkum Reastr Niyum), civil war, and the present four decades of post-conflict development. Following Foucault, this presentation forms an archive of layers of knowledge which have a strong impact to shape the city form, and change the spatial and political structure of the urban landscapes in Phnom Penh.

Speaker Biography

Pen Sereypagna is an architect and urban researcher based in Phnom Penh. His works have been the subject of several exhibitions and presentations in Cambodia and selected venues in Asia, Australia and the U.S. He publishes in academic journals on urban transformation, with a focus on Phnom Penh Cambodia, including for PARSONS’ journal (New York City), Chulalongkorn’s Nakhara journal (Bangkok), NUS’s Urban Asias (Singapore), and Cité De L’architecture & Du Patrimoine (Paris). Pagna serves as director of the Vann Molyvann Project.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies and SOAS Contemporary Arts Research Seminar

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