Julia Estève is Lecturer at Mahidol University, College of Religious Studies (Bangkok, Thailand). Specialist of Religious Studies and Epigraphy, she defended her thesis on History of Religions of ancient Cambodia at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) Paris, in 2009. She questioned the pertinence of use of the notion of syncretism to express the richness of Khmer religion of the pre-Angkorian and Angkorian periods, for which she relied on the Sanskrit and Khmer parts of the inscriptions.
In 2010 she started with her colleague D. Soutif (EFEO), a research Program on Monasteries of the 9th century. Through integrated epigraphic and archaeological research, the Yaśodharāśrama Project is exploring the interrelated social, political, economic, and religious institutions and practices underlying the foundation of the city of Angkor. Specifically, the Yaśodharāśrama Project focuses on the critical role of pluri-religious concepts and practices in the concentration, consolidation and dissemination of political power through archaeological and historical examination of āśramas or religious monasteries.
Her research encompasses the spectrum of the different components of the pre-modern Khmer religion. One axis of her work particularly looks into how Khmer people adapted and reworked the Indic religions to complement and promote their indigenous deities, rooted in the soil, the locus. Another ongoing axis is the study of the evolution of Buddhism in the Khmer empire. As such, she is the religions expert on the archaeological and epigraphical Two Buddhist Towers Project (M. Hendrickson, University of Illinois, Chicago). This new project aims at conducting a multi-scalar evaluation of the practice, change, and function of Buddhism at the regional Angkorian center of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Cambodia (10th to 17th c. CE).
She is also Member of the international Program Corpus des inscriptions khmères (Mahidol University, EPHE & EFEO; director: D. Soutif) since 2003.
In the framework of the ERC DHARMA, she works on the Corpus des Inscriptions khmères and is co-director of the Yaśodharāśrama archaeological research Program.
Forthc. “Buddhism in Angkor Period and Beyond”, in: Buddhist Art Heritage of Asia. Fine Arts Department, Thailand Ministry of Culture.
2018 “Mapping the Sacred: towards a Religious Geography of Ancient Cambodia through a Toponymic Atlas of Cambodian Inscriptions”, in: A Panorama of Epigraphy in Southeast Asia, ed. by Daniel Perret, pp. 163-174.
2016 “L’inscription K. 237 de Prāsāt Preaḥ Khsaet. Une caturmūrti insolite ?”, Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient (BEFEO) 100, pp.167-200.
2014 [with Dominique Soutif] “Un liṅgakośa inscrit au Musée national du Cambodge”, Arts Asiatiques 69, pp. 97-106.
2011 [with Brice Vincent] “L’about inscrit du Musée national du Cambodge (K. 943) : Nouveaux éléments sur le bouddhisme tantrique à l’époque angkorienne”, Arts Asiatiques 65, p. 133-158.
2011 [with Dominique Soutif], “Les Yaśodharāśrama, marqueurs d’empire et bornes sacrées – Conformité et spécificité des stèles digraphiques khmères de la région de Vat Phu”, Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient (BEFEO) 97-98, pp. 331-355.
2011 “New Approaches to Old Texts: Cambodian Inscriptions in the Digital Age” [International conference convened by the Corpus des inscriptions khmères, Apsara & Universitey of Sydney], Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient (BEFEO) 97-98, pp. 403-405.