Investigating Angkor

Investigating Angkor

Background image: buildings and palm trees surrounding temple complex
Image credit:
Courtesy of the Visualizing Angkor Project - Monash University

Investigating Angkor

What can history and archaeology teach us about how human societies interact with each other and with the environment? How can investigating the past help us understand modern identities and ask better questions about our own futures as we now face shifts in our climate and environment?

Investigating Angkor is a working group for middle and high school teachers that will engage with these questions through a sustained study of the Khmer empire with its capital at Angkor. 

Why Angkor?

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire, whose 9th-15th century domination of mainland Southeast Asia offers valuable lessons in politics, transregional interactions, and environmental change. Studying Angkor offers an opportunity to deepen core historical themes. In the pre-modern period these themes include: the spread and expression of belief systems and religious syncretism, regional interconnections through trade and diplomacy, the emergence of political hierarchies, the physical infrastructure of state-building. It provides an example of how political structures and day-to-day life were transformed in a place where a changing physical environment was intertwined with political and social shifts. In the modern period, teachers can revisit the Khmer empire to help students understand the role of historical memory in the construction of national identities.

Participants in Investigating Angkor will learn about the history, art, archaeology, and legacies of Angkor and develop lessons for their own classrooms based around this material.

stone bas relief carving of seated king with audience

Team + Schedule + Stipend


We will convene a team of 5 - 10 middle and high school teachers, plus scholar-experts and a facilitator/pedagogy lead, to form a learning community.  

  • Lead scholar-expert: Dr. Miriam Stark, Director of CSEAS at University of Hawai’i
  • Facilitator/Pedagogy: Shane Carter, Program Coordinator for ORIAS at UC Berkeley

Program Schedule

  • October 2023 - May 2024: Seven 2-hour online meetings with scholar-experts. Participants will be asked to do ~90 minutes of preparatory reading before each meeting.

  • June - August 2024: Participants work independently to create a 3-day (or longer) lesson appropriate to their own teaching context.

  • September 2024: Participants will convene to share and discuss lessons


Each teacher-participant will receive a stipend of $1150 upon completion of the program.

Who Should Apply?

Investigating Angkor has been designed especially for middle and high school world history and art history teachers. TOSAs and teachers of other disciplines who can incorporate this material into their teaching are also encouraged to apply.

If you feel this topic will be relevant to your teaching and compelling to your students, please apply!

Curriculum Alignment

Southeast Asia is often underrepresented in social studies curricula in both middle school and high school. However, there are multiple places to incorporate the study of Angkor into world history, art history, and other social studies courses. Here you can see how the study of Angkor fits into the California, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island history-social studies standards & frameworks, as well as AP World History and AP Art History courses.

Project Funding

Investigating Angkor is made possible by funding from the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, UC Berkeley’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies (in consortium with Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA), and the California Global Education Project. All three Centers for Southeast Asian Studies are designated as National Resource Centers by the US Department of Education and receive grant funding to support research and learning related to Southeast Asia. The California Global Education Project is part of California’s State Subject Matter Project. 

The content of Investigating Angkor does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government or other funding institutions.


Application deadline: September 15, 2023

We recommend that you prepare your responses in a separate document and paste them into the application to protect against losing your work.

We are seeking participants who articulate a clear vision of how this program will benefit themselves as professionals, their teaching practice, and their school community.