SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Dr Stephen A. Murphy

BA (Trinity College Dublin) MA, PhD (SOAS)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications

Overview

Stephen A. Murphy
Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Pratapaditya Pal Senior Lecturer in Curating and Museology of Asian Art

Name:
Dr Stephen A. Murphy
Email address:
Address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Building:
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
587
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesday 3-5pm

Biography

Before joining SOAS, Stephen A. Murphy was Senior Curator for Southeast Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore (2013-2020). Prior to this he worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2011-2013), as a research associate for the Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia exhibition (April 14–July 27, 2014).

As an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, Stephen read Ancient History and Archaeology at the Department of Classics and minored in Biblical and Theological studies at the School of Religion. He did his MA at the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS in 2001-2002. For a number of years before and after this, he worked as a professional field archaeologist in both Ireland and the UK. He returned to SOAS from 2006 – 2010 to undertake his doctoral studies. His thesis, The Buddhist Boundary Markers of Northeast Thailand and Central Laos, 7th-12th centuries CE: Towards an understanding of the archaeological, religious and artistic landscapes of the Khorat Plateau, documented the spread of Buddhism into this region and its subsequent development by focusing specifically on Buddhist boundary markers (Thai, sema/เสมา; Pāli, sīma).

During his time as Senior Curator for Southeast Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Stephen curated four special exhibitions and two permanent galleries. From 19th September – 17th October 2019 he curated Poverty Quilt/A Year in Java: Jimmy Ong at the Asian Civilisations Museum which displayed Ong’s latest work on the topic of colonialism in Southeast Asia and the figure of Sir Stanford Raffles. That year he also co-curated a special exhibition jointly organized with the British Museum titled, Raffles in Southeast Asia: Revisiting the Scholar and Statesmen (February 1st – April 28th 2019). In 2018 he co-curated Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City, masterpieces of the Musée national des arts asiatique—Guimet (April 8th – July 22nd 2018) and in 2016-17 he curated a special exhibition from the National Museums of Myanmar titled, Cities and Kings: Ancient Treasures from Myanmar (Dec. 5th 2016 – March 5th 2017).

In 2015 he curated the Tang Shipwreck Gallery, housing the Tang Shipwreck Collection. It comprises of a remarkable cargo of more than 60,000 ceramics produced in China for export to the Middle East during the Tang dynasty (618–907), as well as luxurious objects of gold, silver and bronze. More than 1000 objects from this shipwreck are displayed in the gallery and tell the story of globalisation in Asia long before the term was coined. In 2018, he co-curated The Ancient Religions Gallery which exhibits Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Art. It discusses their origins, their spread across Asia by land and by sea, and their localisation on each step of the way.

Teaching

Research

Stephen Murphy specialises in the art and archaeology of Buddhism and Hinduism in first millennium CE Southeast Asia with a particular focus on Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. He also concentrates on Maritime trade and connections between Southeast Asian cultures, Tang China, and the Indian Ocean world in general. His museological focus engages with methods of curating Asian Art in the context of colonialism and post-colonial studies, and debates surrounding the decolonising of museums. He does this both within a Southeast Asian and a global context.

He is currently working on converting his PhD thesis into a book publication.

Publications

Articles

Murphy, Stephen A and Onn, Clement (2019) 'Trade and the Maritime Silk Routes: The Level One Galleries at Asian Civilisations Museum'. Orientations, (50) 4, pp 2-11.

McCullough, Theresa and Murphy, Stephen A and Onn, Clement and Zulkifli, Noorashikin (2019) 'Faith and Belief: The Level Two Galleries at Asian Civilisations Museum'. Orientations, (50) 4, pp 32-43.

Murphy, Stephen (2018) 'Revisiting the Bujang Valley: A Southeast Asian entrepôt complex on the maritime trade route'. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, (28) 2, pp 355-389.

Lloyd-Smith, Lindsay and Gani, Nicolas and Mohammad, Sherman Sauffi William and Appleby, Jo and Litah, Stephen and Murphy, Stephen and Nyiri, Borabala and Paran, Walter and White, Nancy (2017) 'Early Central Borneo Project: Archaeological Investigations In Pa' Lungan, Kelabit Highlands (2013-2015)'. Sarawak Museum Journal, (99), pp 57-117.

Murphy, Stephen A (2016) 'The case for proto-Dvaravati: A review of the art historical and archaeological evidence'. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, (47) 3, pp 366-392.

Murphy, Stephen A and Stark, Miriam T (2016) 'Introduction: Transitions from late prehistory to early historic periods in mainland Southeast Asia, c. early to mid-first millennium CE'. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, (47) 3, pp 333-340.

Murphy, Stephen (2013) 'Buddhism and its Relationship to Dvaravati Period Settlement Patterns and Material Culture in Northeast Thailand and Central Laos c. Sixth to eleventh centuries AD: A Historical Ecology Approach to the Landscape of the Khorat Plateau'. Asian Perspectives: Journal of Archaeology & the Pacific, (52) 2, pp 300-323.

Murphy, Stephen A (2010) 'Dvaravati Period Sema Stones: Shifting meanings and definitions in archaeology, epigraphy, texts and religious re-use'. Rian Thai: international journal of Thai studies, (3), pp 259-282.

Murphy, Stephen A (2010) 'การแพร่กระจายของใบเสมาสมัยทวารวดีในที่ราบสูงโคราช [An Analysis of the Distribution of Dvaravati Period Sema stones in the Khorat Plateau]'. Muang Boran, (36) 2, pp 71-91.

Murphy, Stephen A and Pongkasetkan, Pimchanok (2010) 'Fifty Years of Archaeological Research at Dong Mae Nang Muang, an Ancient Gateway to the Upper Chao Phraya Basin'. Journal of the Siam Society, (98), pp 49-74.

Edited Books or Journals

Murphy, Stephen A and Wang, Naomi and Green, Alexandra, (eds.), (2019) Raffles in Southeast Asia: Revisiting the scholar and the statesman. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum.

McCullough, Theresa and Murphy, Stephen A and Baptiste, Pierre and Zéphir, Thierry, (eds.), (2018) Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum.

Chong, Alan and Murphy, Stephen A, (eds.), (2017) The Tang Shipwreck: art and exchange in the 9th century. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum.

Murphy, Stephen, (ed.), (2016) Cities and Kings: Treasures from Ancient Myanmar. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum.

Murphy, Stephen A and Stark, Miriam T, (eds.), (2016) Journal of Southeast Asian Studies: The Archaeology Issue. Singapore: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. (The Archaeology Issue).

Murphy, Stephen and Revire, Nicolas, (eds.), (2014) Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology. Bangkok: River Books and the Siam Society.

Book Chapters

Murphy, Stephen A (2020) 'The Tang Shipwreck and Maritime Trade in Asia in the 9th century/“黑石号”沉船与9 世纪的亚洲海上贸易'. 宝历风物 : "黑石号"沉船出水珍品 / The Baoli era : treasures from the Tang Shipwreck Collection. Shanghai: 上海书画出版社, Shanghai : Shanghai shu hua chu ban she, pp 30-76.

Murphy, Stephen A (2019) 'Cultural Connections and Shared Origins between Cham and Dvāravatī: A comparison of common artistic and architectural motifs, ca. 7th – 10th centuries CE'. In: Griffiths, Arlo and Hardy, Andrew and Wade, Geoff, (eds.), Champa: Territories and Networks of a Southeast Asian Kingdom. Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, pp 303-321.

Murphy, Stephen A (2019) 'Tang'. In: Gaillard, Karin and van den Berg, Eline, (eds.), Gezonken schatten : vondsten uit scheepswrakken van de maritieme zijderoute 800-1900 = Sunken treasures : discoveries in shipwrecks from the maritime silk road 800-1900. Zwolle: Waanders & De Kunst, pp 18-41.

Murphy, Stephen A (2019) 'The Constant Orientalist: Raffles and the Religions of Java'. In: Murphy, Stephen A and Wang, Naomi and Green, Alexandra, (eds.), Raffles in Southeast Asia: Revisiting the scholar and the statesman. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 202-213.

Murphy, Stephen A (2018) 'Introducing Angkor: Presenting Khmer civilisation to the world'. In: McCullough, Theresa and Murphy, Stephen A and Baptiste, Pierre and Zéphir, Thierry, (eds.), Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 14-33.

Murphy, Stephen A and Lefferts, H. Leedom (2017) 'Globalizing Indian Religions and Southeast Asian Localisms: Incentives for the adoption of Buddhism and Brahmanism in 1st Millennium CE Southeast Asia'. In: Hodos, Tamar, (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization. London and New York: Routledge, pp 768-788.

Murphy, Stephen A (2017) 'Ports of call in ninth-century Southeast Asia: The route of the Tang Shipwreck'. In: Chong, Alan and Murphy, Stephen A, (eds.), The Tang Shipwreck: art and exchange in the 9th century. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 234-249.

Murphy, Stephen A (2017) 'Asia in the ninth century: the context of the Tang Shipwreck'. In: Chong, Alan and Murphy, Stephen A, (eds.), The Tang Shipwreck: art and exchange in the 9th century. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 12-20.

Murphy, Stephen A (2016) 'Cities and Kings: A journey through the art and archaeology of Myanmar'. In: Murphy, Stephen A, (ed.), Cities and Kings: Treasures from Ancient Myanmar. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 14-21.

Murphy, Stephen A and Kyaing, U Win (2016) 'The Pyu: an ancient civilization of upper Myanmar'. In: Murphy, Stephen A, (ed.), Cities and Kings: Treasures from Ancient Myanmar. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp 22-33.

Murphy, Stephen A (2015) 'How Many Monks? Quantitative And Demographic Archaeological Approaches To Buddhism In Northeast Thailand And Central Laos, 6th-11th Centuries Ce'. In: Lammerts, D. Christian, (ed.), Buddhist Dynamics in Premodern and Early Modern Southeast Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp 80-119.

Murphy, Stephen A (2014) 'Buddhist Architecture and Ritual Space in Thailand, Seventh to Ninth Century'. In: Guy, John, (ed.), Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. New York; New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Distributed by Yale University Press, pp 194-195.

Murphy, Stephen A (2014) 'Sema Stones in Lower Myanmar and Northeast Thailand: A Comparison'. In: Revire, Nicolas and Murphy, Stephen A, (eds.), Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology. Bangkok: River Books, pp 353-371.

Murphy, Stephen A (2013) 'The Distribution of Sema Stones throughout the Khorat Plateau during the Dvaravati Period'. In: Klokke, Marijke J and Degroot, Véronique, (eds.), Unearthing Southeast Asia's past : selected papers from the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists. Volume 1. Singapore: NUS Press, pp 215-233.

Pongkasetkan, Pimchanok and Murphy, Stephen A (2012) 'Transitions from Late Prehistoric to Dvaravati Period Funerary Practices: New Evidence from Dong Mae Nang Muang, Central Thailand'. In: Tjoa-Bonatz, Mai Lin and Reinecke, Andreas and Bonatz, Dominik, (eds.), Crossing Borders: Selected Papers from the 13th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists, Volume 1. Singapore: NUS Press, pp 75-89.

Book Reviews

Murphy, Stephen (2021) 'Defining Dvāravatī: Edited by Anna Bennett and Hunter Watson. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2020'. SOJOURN, (36) 1, pp 197-200.

Murphy, Stephen A (2015) 'Review of: The Origins of the Civilization of Angkor, vols 1-6: Edited by Charles F.W. Higham et al'. The Antiquaries Journal, (95), pp 373-377.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Latinis, D. Kyle and Murphy, Stephen A (2017) Sema Stones and Mountain Palaces from the Dawn of Angkor.

 

This list was last generated on Sunday, 24th October 2021, 08:09 Europe/London.