Penny Edwards

Associate Professor

PhD Monash University (History); 1999
M. Phil (International Relations) St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, 1992; BA Hons (Chinese) SOAS, University of London 1985

(510) 642-1926
Address & Office Hours: 

351B Dwinelle

Spring 2019    4-5pm Thursday & by appointment


I work on Burma, Cambodia, Chinese diaspora and am broadly interested in culture, people and literature in translation across time and space.

Spring 2019 I'll be teaching SSEAS 250 (Graduate,) & SSEASN 120 (Upper Division) seminars on Chinese in Southeast Asia, 19th-20th centuries.   

Outside of the classroom, I'm currently directing a small multigenre project, artographies: in other words/worlds funded by the Critical Refugee Studies Group, with an event planned in BAMPFA this April, featuring Bay Area artistes Bonnie Wailee Kwong, Maw Shein Win, Joi Barrios, Kenneth Wong, among others. Stay tuned!

In addition to my core courses, I've just taught my ninth Freshman Seminar, a one-off on Screening Underground Histories, which focused on the Peaky Blinders BBC series,  but I'm taking a break from Freshman seminars this Spring and for the forseeable future to focus on my writing.  

For some years I've been working across archives, disciplines and genres on a book on the Myngun Prince of Burma, its latest title is the peacocks are all gone.  I've published a couple of articles on this already, including “Watching the Detectives: the Elusive Exile of Prince Myngoon of Burma”  in Ronit Ricci (Ed) Exile in Colonial Asia: Kings, Convicts, Commemoration Honolulu: Hawaii University Press (2016) and more recently, some reflections on the archive in “Archival Detours: Sourcing Colonial History” in Fiona Paisley and Kirsty Reid, ed. Sources and Methods in Histories of Colonialism: Approaching the Imperial Archive  (London: Routledge, 2017). 

 Another side project of mine explores Cambodian cinema, and Chinese cinema in Southeast Asia, in the 1950s-1960s. Another, larger project still on the back burner, and which I presented on in EUROSEAS, Oxford, 2017, is Moveable Easts: Alexandra David-Néel, Mirra Alfassa, Suzanne Karpelès and the
constructions of Buddhism in France and Empire.  

Not much to add to my publications for 2018, but I'm excited that my Mekong Review essays on Soth Polin and on Marguerite Duras were both anthologized in Best of the Mekong Review, 2018. You can read about the Mekong Review here #mce_temp_url#   The Soth Polin piece ties into a translation project of his novel L'anarchiste, another excerpt of which  appears in the international literary journal Words without borders (2015)    

My seventh edited volume is Memory
Presenting Southeast Asian Pasts, Issue 21 (2016) of the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, available online at  #mce_temp_url# and also anthologized in a new hard copy edition of Kyoto Review (2017).

 I've also worked on gender in colonial and postcolonial Australia, Burma and Cambodia and jointly edited, with Debjani Ganguly and Jacqueline Lo,  Pigments of the Imagination: Rethinking Mixed Race (Journal of Intercultural Studies, February 2007).  I guest edited Buddhism in Cambodia (Siksacakr Journal of Cambodia Studies #8-#9) and editor and translator of A Short History of the Buddhist Institute (Phnom Penh: Buddhist Institute Press, 2005).  My first degree was in Chinese language and literature, which led me to work on Chinese in Southeast Asia, notably Cambodia and Burma. Related projects include Mediating Chineseness in Cambodia (with Lorraine Paterson, Cross Currents East Asian History and Culture Review, 2012), with Shen-Yuan Fang Lost in the Whitewash: Aboriginal-Asian Encounters in Australia, 1901 to 2001 (Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, 2003) and Beyond China: Migrating Identities (Centre for the Study of Chinese Southern Diaspora, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, 2002).

Alongside SSEAS, I'm affiliated with Department of Gender & Womens' Studies, Group in Buddhist Studies, and Designated Emphasis in European Studies.

From time to time I write OpEds & such like: this one (2016) was inspired by Sinn Sisamouth's song  is here

What else? In 2013 I received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs, and in 2009, the Harry J. Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies for my book Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation (Hawai’i University Press, 2007).