Friday, June 5, 2009

News on VOA

For news about the Cambodian Studies Forum on VOA, click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Articles on Dompols

In case you're interested in short articles on Cambodian history, click here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

List of Abstracts for the First Annual KSF 09

List of Abstracts

Name: Wesley Clarke (
Institutional Affiliation: Graduate Student, Southeast Asian Studies Program, Ohio University
Title: “Problems and Prospects for Cambodia's Endangered Cultural Heritage.”
Keywords: Cultural heritage management, international antiquities trade, looting, Angkor Borei.


Cambodia, like many developing and war-torn countries, has experienced a significant loss of its cultural heritage, particularly the art objects and archaeological artifacts for which there is a high demand on the international antiquities market. The nature of this problem in Cambodia will be visually explored by way of a PowerPoint presentation. The history of efforts to manage and protect Cambodia's rich cultural heritage will be briefly described, and placed in the wider context of the country's mainland neighbors. Specific examples of resource destruction and looting will also be presented, drawing particularly on events at the ancient settlement of Angkor Borei on the Mekong delta of southern Cambodia, where this presenter helped conduct field work in 2005. Finally, current efforts to stem the flow of significant cultural items out of Cambodia will be identified, and effective individual actions will also be suggested.

Name: Alison Carter (alisonkyra"at"gmail"dot"com)
Institutional Affiliation: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Working Title: “Exploring Trade and Exchange Networks in Iron Age Cambodia:
Preliminary Results from a Study of Stone and Glass Beads.”
Keywords: archaeology, prehistory, trade networks, beads
Individual Submission


During the Iron Age (500 BC- AD 500) traders from India and Sri Lanka began to make contact with communities in Southeast Asia. One of the first indicators of this contact is stone and glass beads made in South Asia. Beads were important prestige objects and were traded widely across sites in Southeast Asia. One of the earliest major international trading centers during this period was located in the Mekong Delta region of Cambodia and Vietnam. This area was known to the Chinese as the civilization of Funan and was centered at the cities of Angkor Borei in Cambodia and Oc Eo in Vietnam. One facet of my doctoral dissertation research is examining the trading networks that existed between Funan and other sites in Cambodia by examining the distribution of stone and glass beads across time and space. In this presentation I will first review the stone and glass bead evidence collected from a variety of Iron Age sites while doing fieldwork in Cambodia from January – December 2008. I will also discuss early results from non-destructive compositional analysis being undertaken on a selection of these stone and glass beads. I will then discuss how these different lines of evidence can help archaeologists better understand trade and socio-political development and what my preliminary research can tell us about the trade networks in place in Cambodia during the Iron Age period.

NAME: Anthony Medrano (
AFFILIATION: Southeast Asian Studies Program, Ohio University
TITLE: “Pierre Dieulefils and the Origins of the Colonial Postcard in French
Indochina, 1886-1925.”


In his 1969 publication, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Michel Foucault reminds us that “History is one way in which a society recognizes and develops a mass of documentation with which it is inextricably linked.” In the case of the colony, this link or relation takes on a life that is both productive and durable. Therefore, it is within this context that this essay engages the French colonial archive and its “mass of documentation” in order to better understand the visual discourses and cultural representations of French Indochina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In doing so, it examines the photographic career of Pierre Dieulefils and his mass production of colonial postcards. Drawing on one form of documentation, the colonial postcard, this essay seeks to reposition the visual/aesthetic within Southeast Asian historical studies. Moreover, while the Hanoi-based Pierre Dieulefils Studio produced colonial postcards depicting the whole of French Indochina, examples used in this essay and presentation will be limited to photographic works relating to Cambodia.

Name: Sok Udom DETH (
Title: “A Survey of Resistance Movements in Cambodian Modern History: From Pou Kombo to Ta Mok.”
Institutional Affiliation: Ohio University, M.A in Southeast Asian Studies
Keywords: Resistance movements, Khmer Issarak, Khmer Rouge, CGDK, Indochina Wars


Since the 17th century onward, Cambodian history witnessed many resistance movements, which, more often than not, received supports from foreign powers. The most significant one was that of the Khmer Rouge, who eventually came to power in Cambodia in 1975 and staged one of the bloodiest revolutions in world history. To understand how the Khmer Rouge came to power and the legacy of their rule in Cambodia, it is imperative to look at preceding resistance movements in Cambodia and thereafter as well. These resistance movements cannot be understood without looking at the larger regional and international politics. In Cambodian case, we have to look at the establishment of French protectorate, Japanese occupation, decolonization, and eventually the Indochina wars (embedded in the Cold War), and how these global forces have shaped the resistance movements in Cambodia. This essay surveys major resistance movements in Cambodian modern history, from that of Po Kambo against King Norodom in mid 19th century to the capture of Khmer Rouge Commander-in-Chief, Ta Mok, in March 1999. The impacts of these resistance movements on Cambodia’s political history are also discussed.

Name: Bruce Douglas (
Title: “Democratic Kampuchea’s Foreign Policy after 1979.”
Affiliation: Ohio University


During 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia established a brutal regime. It is widely believed that almost 1.7 million people lost their lives during this time through starvation, torture and murder. The regime was fairly successful in isolating the country from the international community. However, they did maintain ties with some countries and held a seat at the United Nations as Democratic Kampuchea beyond their time in power. I am proposing to build upon my previous research conducted at the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to review, organize and scan documents related to the diplomatic history of the Khmer Rouge which were identified during my first research trip. My focus is on the time period after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and their continued recognition at the United Nations as the legitimate representatives of Cambodia for another 10 years. Maintaining the seat at the UN was a result of larger scale geopolitics at the time. A year ago, in a visit to Ohio University, the executive director of DC-CAM invited me to review the organization’s special collection containing 17,000+ documents which comprise the diplomatic relations of the Khmer Rouge. This collection is not available online or at the DC-CAM archives at Yale University, Rutgers, or the collection Ohio University will soon receive. I physically reviewed the locked collection in a special conference room at DC-CAM in Phnom Penh. Over the last several years, the international community has shown increased readiness to prosecute world leaders for crimes against humanity. In Cambodia, thirty years after the Khmer Rouge ruled, a special court has been established in conjunction.

Name: Huong Nguyen (
Title: “Vietnamese Press on the Memoir of the Khmer Rouge”
Affiliation: Southeast Asian Studies Program, Ohio University


The relation between Vietnam and Cambodia has been one of controversial topics attracting numerous arguments from different perspectives. Particularly after the 1980s, the understanding of people in two countries about each other became more complicated. This paper draws on a series of recent articles on Vietnamese press, including Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper, Nhân dân (The People - official publication of the Communist Party of Vietnam), Tuổi Trẻ (Youth Newspaper - official organ of the Ho Chi Minh City Youth League)… These documents focus on the Khmer Rouge regime and its consequence, as well as the UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia. The paper does not concentrate on details written in the articles on Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge rule, but instead it attempts to discuss recent interpretations and feelings of the traumatic history 30 years ago. Not only Vietnamese memoir of the past but contemporaneous issues of journalism is reflected in these articles as well. Moreover, studying this topic helps to understand Vietnamese perspectives on the Khmer Rouge, and their relation with Cambodian people through times.

Name: Im Sothearith (
Affiliation: Ohio University, VOA (Khmer Service)
Title: “Cambodian Public Admin Reform.”


This paper aims to illustrate the importance of administrative reform and how administrative systems and public personnel are interdependent and help drive the Cambodian vehicle to its destination successfully in a timely manner. Public administration and public personnel are the key factors contributing to the success of all government affairs. In a controversial debate, some argue that a good system makes people work effectively and efficiently, whereas a bad system spoils the public personnel and gives people in the established system an opportunity to commit unethical practices such as corruption and other types of briberies. In reality, public administration and public personnel is interdependent like the chicken and egg debate. An administrative system can be compared to a road, public personnel to a driver, and a country to a vehicle. How fast the vehicle can reach its destination depends on how skillful the driver drives, and how good the road is. A country can be fast developed if it is rich in skilled and well-trained bureaucrats, who work in an established workable system of government. Cambodia, a small country considerably rich in natural resources and a favorable geographical location with no noticeable natural disaster, has been facing political and economic crises. A three-decade civil war ruined its public infrastructure, administrative system and crippled its human capital. Cambodia’s administrative system has also been crippled by the rapid change of the economic system as after the 1993-UN sponsored general election, democracy and a new system of free-market economy were put into place while its established administrative system and working culture of public personnel were still purely socialist. Because of the unfeasibility and inefficiency of the established administrative system and the lack of human capital, Cambodia must pay special attention to reforming its public administration and improving its public personnel skills so that it can cope with the current trends of economic development.

Name: Chalisa Magpanthong (
Institutional Affiliation: International Development Studies, Ohio University
Keywords: Framing, Labor Migration, Mekong, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar
Title: “Media Framing of Labor Migration in the Mekong Sub-Region: A Case Study of Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.”


Labor migration in the Mekong sub-region has been promoted by globalization trends, economic liberalization, and its proximal geography. The flow of labor in this sub-region was seen as one-directional, in that Thailand served as the principal destination providing jobs while Cambodia, Myanmar, and Lao PDR were the sources of migrant workers (“ASEAN must Find,” 2003). Although labor migration in this sub-region helps many migrants gain better employment and increase their income, there are issues relevant to this labor flow pattern that have caused difficulties for relationships among the four countries. This includes undocumented workers, labor repatriation, healthcare problems (i.e. HIV/AIDS), labor abuses (low wage, poor working conditions), human/sex trafficking, labor shortages within the source countries, and labor surplus in dangerous, dirty, and disdained jobs (3D jobs). Such conditions create higher unemployment for citizens in the countries receiving labor, and inspire prejudice against migrant workers.Media reports serve as the principal means for the public to learn about labor migration, and these reports play a key role in setting the public policy agenda. This research examines the way that labor migration in the Mekong sub-region is framed in messages to the public. This research will investigate specifically at 1) types of labor migration frames, 2) public policies of both labor sending and receiving countries in response to a labor migration agenda, and 3) organizations that play role in promoting public agenda on labor migration.

Name: Farina So (
Ohio University
Graduate Student, Southeast Asian Studies
Title: “Website Development: Building Bridges between the Cambodian Cham Muslims and the Rest of the World.”
Keywords: Democratic Kampuchea, Cham Muslim community, media outlets, blog,


Over two hundred mosques have been built across Cambodia since the fall of the Democratic Kampuchea government and plans are currently underway for the construction of more mosques. Despite the increasing number of mosques, communication and information sharing between the nation’s several hundred mosques is limited and infrequent due to impediments such as poor roads, scarce economic resources, low education, and limited access to media outlets. This website seeks to alleviate these challenges by focusing on media access- an arena that has yet to be addressed in the Cham Muslim community. It will not only provide extensive information about the Cham Muslim community on subjects such as Cham history, village origins, way of life, religious teachings, and updated information on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but will also be interactive in nature through the use of blog posts. This project will be of great importance to scholars, researchers, students, and other interested persons in the Cham minority as it will offer accurate and well documented articles. The overall goal of this project is to bring members of Cham Muslim communities across the country closer to each other and to the world and likewise educate the world about the Cham minority in Cambodia.Two villages have been selected as pilot sites for this project. The villages are located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh (about 5 miles away) and each contains approximately 500 families. Many children in these villages go to public school. Some Cham students who attend school in these villages, but are originally from other provinces, were also selected to participate in the study. Survey questions are divided into two parts: the first part concerns demographic information of the respondents (gender, age, education, income, occupation, and village size) and second consists of 15 questions regarding opinions about the proposed website.

Name: Jared Cahners (
Affiliation: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dept. of Anthropology
Title: “Hunter Monks and Kpa Klon: Built Space and National Stories in Cambodia’s Highland Provincial Capitals.”


This paper explores the connections between the built environment and ethnic policy. In particular I examine the ways the built spaces within the capitals of provinces with large ethnic minority population reflect particular national dialogues on ethnicity and nationhood. Statues, cultural centers and museums and their locations within these provincial capitals reflect the ways ethnic minorities are placed rhetorically within the nation-state. To illuminate these connections, this paper looks at Sen Monorem, Mondulkiri and Banlung, Ratanakiri in comparison to Pleiku, Gialai, on the Vietnamese side of the border. In this comparison we see through these stories told in built space the ways Cambodian (and Vietnamese) nationalism becomes concrete on the frontiers of the nation-state.

Name: Joan Kraynanski (
Affiliation: Ohio University
Title: “Reopening the Case of Women Walking Silently: The emergence of Cambodian Women into the Public Sphere.”
Keywords: Cambodia, culture, gender, public space, identity transformation


This paper will reevaluate the position and analysis presented in “Women Walking Silently: the Emergence of Cambodian Women into the Public Sphere” using newly published research and activity that adds to and expands our ability to identify the cultural positioning of Cambodian women. The original thesis was developed using the theoretical position of Peggy Watson who emphasizes “identity transformation” as the key to understanding the nature of how the progression of a more gendered society occurs in developing nations. The lens for my original thesis was focused on more contemporary issues as the bases for identifying Cambodian women’s perception of their place in society. This paper will interject a wider and more historical lens allowing the discussion to consider past periods of gender equality as a possible influence on contemporary gender transformation.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Annual Khmer Studies Forum, 2009


9:30-9:55 Refreshment
9:55-10:00 Welcome speech by Dr. Gene Ammarell, Director, SEA Studies Program

First Panel: Archeology and Visual Representations

10:00-10:25 Wes Clarke: "Problems and Prospects for Cambodia's Endangered
Cultural Heritage."

10:25-10:45 Alison Carter: "Exploring Trade and Exchange Networks in Iron Age
Cambodia: Preliminary Results from a Study of Stone and Glass Beads."

10:45-11:05 Anthony Medrano: "Pierre Dieulefils and the Origins of the Colonial
Postcard in French Indochina, 1885-1925."

11:05-11:35 Q&A Session

11:35-13:00 Lunch Break

Second Panel: History

13:00-13:20 Sok Udom Deth: "A Survey of Resistance Movements in Cambodia's
Modern History: From Pou Kombo to Ta Mok."

13:20-13:40 Bruce Douglas: "Democratic Kampuchea's Foreign Policy after 1979."

13:40-14:00 Huong Nguyen: "Vietnamese Press on the Memoirs of the Khmer Rouge."

14:00-14:30 Q & A Session

Third Panel: Politics and Media

14:45-15:05 Im Sothearith: "Cambodian Public Admin Reform."

15:05-15:25 Chalisa Magpanthong: "Media Framing of Labor Migration in the
Mekong Sub-Region: A Case Study of Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar."

15:25-15:45 Farina So: "Website Development: Building Bridges between the
Cambodian Cham Muslims and the Rest of the World."

15:45-16:15 Q&A Session

Fourth Panel: Anthropology and Religious Studies

16:30-16:50 Jared Cahners: "Hunter Monks and Kpa Klon: Built Space and
National Stories in Cambodia's Highland Provincial Capitals."

16:50-17:10 Joanie Kraynanski: "Reopening the Case of Cambodian Women Walking Silently: The Emergence of Cambodian Women in Public Sphere."

17:10-17:30 Q&A Session

17:30-17:35 Closing Remarks

17:35: Dinner provided at Yamada House