Alexandra Denes

Portrait of Alexandra   Denes

Alexandra Denes is a socio-cultural anthropologist specializing in heritage issues in Southeast Asia based in Thailand for over two decades, a Senior Research Associate and the Director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School, the Culture and Rights Project, and the Visual Anthropology Program at Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre.

With her primary research centered on cultural heritage as a field of discourse and practice, particularly how ideas of heritage frame constructions of nationhood, regionalism, ethnicity and collective memory across South and Southeast Asia, she has been closely involved since 2008 in the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, collaborating with state heritage institutions, organizations and local communities to support the revitalization and safeguarding of living cultural practices through policy and community-based programs, with workshops held in Thailand, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Her 2006 Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University reflected her Fulbright scholarship field research on the revival of Khmer heritage and Khmer ethnic identity in Surin, Thailand, and was entitled “Recovering Khmer Ethnic Identity from the Thai National Past: An Ethnography of the Localism Movement in Thailand.”

Currently working with the Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai, Alexandra Denes is leading a research on cultural heritage rights at the Phnom Rung Historical Park in Buriram Province, focusing on themes such as ethnic identity, ritual, memory, and the politics of cultural heritage revitalization within the context of nationalism.