Dr. Saphan was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Fleeing the Khmer Rouge regime, Dr. Saphan took residence for over two decades in Canada and France. She went on to graduate from the Sorbonne and l'Ecole Normale Superieure with a PhD in Urban Studies and two BA in Anthropology and Khmer Studies. Her dissertation was published in 2010.
As an visual artist, Saphan's work has been included in several collective exhibitions throughout Cambodia, Myanmar, Kenya, Hungary, Singapore, France, and the US. Her arwork can be seen at Singapore Art Museum and Pierogi 2000 in Brooklyn and Van Cleve Fine Art in San Diego, USA- www.saphan.info.
She is also an associate producer-researcher for the documentary film on Cambodian history: " Don't Think I've Forgotten, Cambodia Lost Rock and Roll"
2007 Ph.D. in Urban Studies - Sorbonne “Rebirth of Public Spaces in Phnom Penh: Urban Processes and Urban Dynamics of the New Inhabitants of the Cambodian Capital” at the Urban Anthropology Laboratory of the CNRS, University of Paris X – Nanterre (Advisor Professor Anne Raulin).
Research themes: city dweller’s identity, public space/private sphere, relationship of the townsmen in public spaces, urban consumption, the emergence of the civil society and the setting of the policies in the city, emerging new social class.
2003 DEA in Social Sciences, M.Phil - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris (ENS), France.
Major in Urban Sociology: “The Buddhist Religious Institution in a Trans-National Configuration: Economical and Political Implications” with Professor Jean-Pierre Hassoun (CNRS).
Themes: economic and political overlap in religious practices, urban inscription of religious space, adaptation of the Buddhists in a Western context, ethnic and religious acculturation, cross-cultural implication.
Minor in Human Geography: “Urbanization of Phnom Penh Under an Authoritative Regime: The Case of the Urban Planning of Chaktomuk, Cambodia” under the direction of Professor Sebastien Velut at the Laboratory of Geography of the ENS.
Themes: political impact on the urban landscape and on its environment, the processes of political decision-making in a third world country.
2002 Masters in Urban Anthropology - Sorbonne – Paris V, Paris, France
“The Vincennes Pagoda: Urban Theatre and Place of Consumption of the Khmerness. Research around the Observation of a Place and Moments Functioning like Public Spaces” under the direction of Professor Anne Raulin.
1999 DS Khmer Studies (equivalent to BA). INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales), Paris, France.
2010 Ph.D. dissertation: “La vie sociale des espaces publics à Phnom Penh:” Sarrebuck, Editions Universitaires Européennes, 412 pages.
2009 “Cambodian Emerging Curatorial Art Practice” in The Mekong Art and Culture Project Journal, Bangkok.
2006 “Visual Arts Open”, New York Art Magazine, January-February 2006 issue, New York. “Emergence”, New York Art Magazine, January-February 2006 issue, New York. “Lettre Filmée” a filmed postcard about the Cambodian art scene, 20 minutes color with filmmaker Christine Bouteiller.
2004 “Les vatts en banlieue parisienne” in Le Paris Asie", editors Pascal Blanchard, Eric Deroo, Paris, La Découverte, 221 pages.
CONFERENCES | TALK
2012 Two-day Symposium on Cultural Exchange between Europe and Southeast Asia,Seattle University, WA, USA
Talk on "Urban Guerrilla Art" with Dr. Poyin Auyeung organized by Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY,USA
2011 Conference organized by University of California at Berkeley and University of Wisconsin- “Phnom Penh Urbanites: Becoming City Dwellers”.
“Cambodian Modern History and Legacy” Moderated a two-day panel about Cambodian modern history. Panelists included an artist, musician and filmmaker. Organized by Singapore Art Council, Singapore.
Organizer and developer of a two-day workshop with the US Department of State’s fund at Phare Ponleu School in Battambang, Cambodia.
2010 “Genocide Coping Strategies Panel” with Humanity scholars George Chigas funded by University of Massachusetts at the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) in Lowell, MA
2007 Conference on Living Capital: Sustaining Diversity in Southeast Asian Cities. A Centre for Khmer Studies – Initiating Urban Studies in Cambodia and Capacity Building in Higher Education Conference, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Institute for Cultural Enterprise; New School University, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
2006 Conference Program Developer for the audio-visual center Bophana in Phnom Penh on “The Collective Memory: The Cultural and Artistic Heritage of Cambodia.” Program covered two years of conferences, and linked various researchers and institutions - sociologists, anthropologists, historians, geographers and life stories through testimonies.
2005 Seminar“Different Urban Processes – the Sidewalks of Phnom Penh” organized by the Laboratory of Urban Anthropology from the CNRS, Ivry-Sur-Seine, France.
2004 Organizer and developer of the two-week seminar program for CKS graduate students “What is The Future of Scientific Research in Cambodia?” Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Member of LAU-CRNS - Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Urbaine, Paris, France
Member of ENS (Ecole Normale Superieure) research group - "Enquêtes Terrains Théories" du Centre Maurice Halbwachs, Paris, France
2011 US Department of State Grant for Visual Initiative Program in Cambodia.
2007 ANA (Arts Network Asia) grant for the Selapak Neari art center project, Singapore.
2004-7 Scholarship from AUF, Montreal, Canada.
2003 Young Researchers Award from the City of Paris for a year research project on an Asian city, Paris, France
2003 Research grant from the Sorbonne University, Paris. France.
SOC 150 Roots: Soci/Anthr-Modern Asia
SOC 204 Urban Anthropology
SOC 303 Urban Planning
SOC 330 The Modern Metropolis
SOC 465 Research in Sociology
URBN 303 Urban Planning