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SEASSI Lecture Series: Theara Thun

July 15, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Post-colonial Nationalist Historiography of Cambodia and Southeast Asia

Theara Thun
Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Kyoto University

Local production of knowledge in post-colonial Southeast Asia has a strong association with the politics of decolonization, nation-building, and ideology of each political regime. This presentation discusses four key aspects of the nationalist historiography of Cambodia as well as the implications on the broader Southeast Asian region. These aspects are: (1) history-makings of the state religion, (2) Prince Sihanouk’s embodiment of Buddhism and national past, (3) ethnic essentialist historiography, and (4) Pol Pot’s class-based historical interpretation. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the evolution of nationalist historiography since the 1950s, during which the local production of knowledge had taken up “Marxist-oriented” and “Modernist” historical approaches. More and more nationalist intellectuals had adopted diverse themes and approaches to include a much broader notion of collective culture into their scholarship, as opposed to the established historiography based on the royal lineage and top ruling elites. Attendance is free and open to the public. No pre-registration required, join via Zoom here. You can RSVP to the Facebook event here.


July 15, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm