Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Sarah Holma

S.K. Holma MA
+31 71 527 2171

Sarah Holma is a PhD Candidate within the LIAS. She has a double major in Asian Studies and Anthropology from UBC and an MA in Asian Pacific Policy Studies. She is interested in heritage politics in Southeast Asia, and how these politics affect a global understanding of the archaeological record in the region. Sarah has worked as a field archaeologist in Cambodia, Canada and Australia and has worked for a variety of academic institutions, like UNESCO, the Australian Defense Force Academy and the Australian National University. Presently, she is an Instructor with Selkirk College in Canada.

More information about Sarah Holma

Fields of interest 

Sarah Holma is interested in how Southeast Asia's past (history and archaeology) has been affected by colonialism and how the colonial period continues to influence our understanding of the archaeological record, and monumental sites in the region.

(PhD) Research

A Diachronic Analysis of the Process of Heritage Management in Cambodia
The Angkor World Heritage Area (AWHA) continues to enrapture minds and hearts. Following Cambodia's civil war, the preservation of its magnificent monuments has developed into a billion-dollar industry with investors from around the world. Since 1993, more than 36 countries, 12 intergovernmental groups and 38 international teams have contributed millions of dollars to conservation, restoration, research and sustainable development projects in the AWHA.

Sustained foreign investment has created a cycle of state dependency on tourism to the Angkor sites, placing high demands on foreign aid to conserve the sites, develop the tourism sector, rectify damage to the sites from tourism, and foster off the beaten track excavations.

Within this unstable environment, the varied interests of International Agencies (under UNESCO's ICC-Angkor umbrella), and the local APSARA National Authority (APSARA) reveal an imbalance of technical and financial capacity on the ground.

Inspired by the work of James Ferguson's “Anti-Politics Machine”, this research examines the social effect of an international development apparatus for heritage management in Cambodia. While addressing cultural barriers within international teams, between locals and remote stakeholders and in contrasting conservation styles, this work reveals that competing values and priorities among stakeholders disable the success of site management systems in the Angkor Park.

Importantly, with adherence to the mandate and articles presented in the 1972 World Heritage Convention, this work addresses the extent to which Article 5(e), a policy established to foster national capacity building, has been fulfilled in the country of Cambodia. How active have States Parties been in their efforts to support the Cambodian capacity to protect, conserve and present their heritage?

This critical research suggests ways in which international capacity-building strategies can be tailored to address cultural priorities on the ground, with suggestions toward best practices Cambodia’s other WHS properties: Preah Vihear (2008) and Sambor Prei Kuk (2017).


2014-Present: Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), PhD Candidate in Area Studies
Dissertation Thesis: Angkorean temple diagrams: 8-12th centuries AD

2012-2014: Australian National University, School of Culture, History and Language PhD Candidate in Archaeology and Natural History
PhD Research: Analysis of Angkorean compliance with Pallava architectural treatise between the 9th-12th centuries AD.
- Presented work at departmental conferences in Australia (2013)
- Awarded private foundation scholarship and department travel award for research abroad (2013)

2011-2012: Université de Montréal, PhD Student in the Faculté de l'aménagement
PhD Research: A Study of the Effectiveness of World Heritage Policies in
the Conservation, Protection and Management of World Heritage in Cambodia.
- Assisted former UNESCO Chairperson Dr Christina Cameron with the
Publication: History of the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO 1972-2000.
- Transcribed interviews with former WHC members.

2009-2011: University of British Columbia, Institute of Asian Research in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies
MA Graduate of Policy Studies
MA Thesis• An Ethnography of UNESCO
- 3 Month Internship with UNESCO Bangkok in the APEID ICT-in-Education Unit and HIV/AIDS Unit
-Ethics representative for MAPPS (Masters in Asian-Pacific Policy Studies) student cohort (2009-2011)
-Started UBC-based NGO with support of the Director of the Institute of Asian Research and 4 affiliate professors from the Center for Southeast Asian Research -Led 1-year UBC-wide initiative to attract attention and fundraising toward preliminary de-mining and archaeological survey in Cambodia (2010)
-Awarded Simon K Yee Global Award (2010) and CARE-UBC Award (2010) Finalist for YMCA Power of Peace Award (2010)
-Conference Planner, “Buddhism in Canada: Global Causes, Local Conditions”

2003-2009: University of British Columbia
Awarded Double-Major Bachelor Degree (2009)
1) Anthropology (2009)
- Completed all available courses in anthropological theory
- Concentration on applied ethnography and medical anthropology
- Linguistic components: Spanish and French language

2) Asian Area Studies (2008)
- Philosophical, literary and historical developments of Asian societies
- Colonial and corporate frameworks in the Asia-Pacific
- Specific focus on ancient Southeast Asian-Indian economic relations
- Linguistic component: Sanskrit language.

Teaching activities

Sarah is currently an Instructor with Selkirk College, in Canada. Supervisors: prof. dr. M.F. Herzfeld and dr. P.M.F. Peycam

Grants and awards

Travel award 2016
Fonds voor Zuid- en Zuidoost- Aziatische Kunst/ Leiden University Fund, Netherlands

Finalist for “3-minute thesis” 2014
Australian National University, Canberra, ACT

Fieldwork award
Funding for fieldwork in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, and France 2013-2014
Australian National University, Canberra, ACT

Finalist for “Student Most Likely to Change the World” 2013
Department of Public Affairs
UBC, Vancouver

Scholarship for Good and Meriting Work 2013
NextGenU.Org- $27,000/1 yr.
Chair of Population and Public Health
UBC, Vancouver

Language Bursary for French Language Training 2012
Awarded from CRE Montreal: La Fierté d'apprendre

Entrance Bursary for PhD Program 2011
Université de Montréal: Faculté de L'Aménagement
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Ethics Representative 2009-2011
MAPPS (Masters in Asian-Pacific Policy Studies) student cohort

UBC Global Fund Award 2010
Simon K Yee Global Award
The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, BC Canada

CARE Society of Vancouver- Travel Around the World Award 2010
For meetings at the Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh.

Key Publications

  • "The Data Universe and its Boundaries"- Guest Panelist for the Freedom Collaborative/Liberty Asia Webinar on how Big Data is used to delineate trafficking rings in Asia (October 2018)
  • “Raise the Red Lanterns! The Rise of Asian Heritage Management at the site of Angkor”- Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies. York University Conference (October 25-28, 2017)
  • "How Effective are International Agencies in the Protection, Conservation and Presentation of Cambodian Heritage Places?"- Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies. York University Conference (October 25-28, 2017)
  • “The Future of Cambodian Heritage under China” Asia Pacific Memo, Institute of Asian Research - The University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC (2017)
  • “A Study of the Effectiveness of International Agencies in the Protection, Conservation and Presentation of Cambodian Heritage Places”- Rotary Club, Nelson BC (2017)
  • “The World Heritage Apparatus in Cambodia.” - MIR Centre for Peace, Selkirk College, (2017)
  • "How can World Heritage management plans honour indigenous and human rights in World Heritage areas?"- Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) Conference. Selkirk College (2016)
  • “Using interdisciplinarity to enhance our understanding of ancient ritual at Preah Vihear”- CSEAR Southeast Asian Graduate Conference. UBC Vancouver (2016)
  • “World Heritage in Southeast Asia,” and “Beyond Angkor- Cambodia’s World Heritage Site Number Two.”Telus World of Science. Indiana Jones Speaker Series, Edmonton, AB (2016)
  • “Pinned to the Dangrek, the Vastupurusa Shines” Conference Poster presented at the ANU Manning Theatre. Golson Lecture/PhD Showcase (2014)
  • “Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention” Université de Montréal: Faculté de L'Aménagement Research Team (2013)
  • “War and Health” Next Gen University online course (2013)

Please note
Sarah Youngblutt doesn't have a desk at the university. Please send an email if you want to contact her. The above mentioned telephone number is the number of the secretariat.

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Indonesie

No relevant ancillary activities

This website uses cookies.  More information.