Saturday, 29 January 2011

John Burgess lecture reflects on ancient and present Cambodia

via CAAI

By Yvette Villasenor
Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011

Students and faculty gathered Friday evening to listen to an art lecture presented by John Burgess, the journalist and author behind "Stories in Stone."

Burgess began his career as a journalist in Thailand in 1971 as a sub-editor for The Bangkok World, an English-based paper. Later, he found himself interested in the scripted stones that lay in the heart of Angkor, Cambodia, where he got the idea for his book "Stories in Stone."

As students and faculty filled the lecture room, Burgess began his lecture on his adventures and findings of the Sdok Kok Thom inscription and the enigma of Khmer history he found in Angkor. He also shared his experiences about Cambodia's architecture, scripture and overall culture.

"Angkor has remained largely off the map for the world's consciousness," Burgess said.

He believes the Sdok Kok Thom findings and the fall of Khmer hold significant historical importance and sharing his experience with different audiences will grow knowledge of this particular culture and how it relates to other cultures with an equally impressive historical importance as Ancient Rome or Egypt.

Many students stayed after the lecture to speak with Burgess and other students and faculty.

"The lecture was intriguing," said Minh Tran, an art studio major. She believes having lectures about personal experiences will open the eyes of more students and draw them to learn more about other cultures.

Pat Chirapravati, professor and director of Asian studies at Sacramento State hopes to grow the Asian studies department by providing students and faculty with informational, insightful lectures once a month to open eyes to different cultures of the world.

"Our campus is so diverse," Chirapravati said. "I want to stimulate students to learn about the world and look beyond."

As Chirapravati works to further grow the Asian studies department, she encourages students who are interested in her department to come to her office.

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