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The Missing Picture

missing_picture

Koh Ker, the city of Linga during the reign of King Jayavarman IV

Venue: ZAMAN Conference Hall, No: 8, Street 315, Boeng Kak 1, Tuol Kouk, Phnom Penh
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Time:9 — 11 am
Please Confirm attendance by: Thursday, 19 March 2015
Email: puthea_sim@khmerstudies.org / voum@zamanu.edu.kh
Tel: 063 964 385 / 077 363 186

Dr. Chen is a Professor at the ZAMAN University, Phnom Penh. He received his PhD in Archaeology and Southeast Asia Art History from the Université de Paris III, Sorbonne and is the President of the Kerdomnel Khmer Foundation. His professional experience includes working for the Southeast Asia Television (SEATV) and being a French and English speaking guide specialized in Cambodia’s cultural and historical sites.

Abstract:

In 10th Century Cambodia, King Jayavarman IV moved the capital city to Chok Gargyarin the greater Angkor area, now known as Koh Ker, where he was to stay for twenty years. It was there that Jayavarman IV built religious monuments dedicated to Hinduism as well as large scale infrastructure (i.e. irrigation system, roads) to support the local economy. The concept of urban planning was also developed fully during his reign since the capital was organized in such a way as to consolidate the king’s political power and ensure the country’s stability, security and prosperity.

This capital city lasted for 20 years, however. It was immediately abandoned after his death. Historians are still debating the underlying motivations behind Jayavarman IV’s choice of Koh Ker and the major political events that took place during his reign.

Fish and People: Threats from hydropower and over exploitation of resources in the Lower Mekong Basin

Venue: Conference Hall CKS Siem Reap, Wat Damnak, Siem Reap
Date: Thursday 26th February 2015
Time: 6 — 7 pm
Please Confirm attendance by: 25/2/2015
Email: puthea_sim@khmerstudies.org
Tel: 063 964 385

Chouly Ou, Ph.D., The SFS Center for Mekong Studies, Cambodia A lecturer in conservation science at the School for Field Studies Center for Mekong Studies, Dr. Ou received her Ph.D in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. She is a freshwater ecologist who specialized in food web ecology. Her research interests range from basic natural science such as floodplain river ecology to applied conservation science namely biodiversity monitoring and community-based conservation. Her recent research concentrated on food web ecology in the Lower Mekong Basin where she investigated seasonal primary production sources supporting fish biomass and the impact of hydropower dams on primary production sources. She also researched the applicability of “fishing-down-the food web” model that was based on marine system to freshwater systems. Prior to completing her Ph.D, she was a lecturer for the Royal University of Phnom Penh at the Department of Environmental Science and worked for BirdLife International as a monitoring expert.

Abstract:

The Mekong River is one of the world’s most important rivers in terms of its size, economic importance, cultural significance, productivity, and biodiversity. The Me-kong River’s fisheries and biodiversity are threatened by major hydropower devel-opment and over-exploitation. Knowledge of river food web ecology is essential for the management of the impacts created by anthropogenic activities on plant and animal populations and ecosystems. In the present study, Dr. Ou surveyed four tropical rivers in Cambodia within the Mekong River Basin. She examined the ba-sal production sources supporting fish biomass in the four rivers during the dry and wet seasons and explored the relationship between trophic position and body size of fish at various taxonomic levels, among local species assemblages, and across trophic guilds. I used stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to estimate fish trophic levels and the principal primary production sources supporting fishes. Her study provides evidence that food web dynamics in tropical rivers undergo significant seasonal shifts and emphasizes that river food webs are altered by dams and flow regulation. Her findings challenge the Eltonian theory of size-based trophic struc-ture in food webs and also contradict the broadly accepted prediction of the fishing-down-the-food-web concept.

Urban Brokers of Rural Cuisine: Food Literacy at Cambodian Soup-Pot Restaurants

Date: Saturday, February 21
Time: 5.30 – 6.30pm

Hart Feuer is a senior research fellow at the Center for Khmer Studies Cambodia and an Associated Researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany. His work focuses on higher education reform and internationalization and on agricultural processes of ecological modernization, rural change. He received a PhD in Agricultural Sociology from the University of Bonn (2013) and has been a student of diverse topics in Cambodia, Germany and the Middle East since 2003. Contact: hfeuer@gmail.com

Abstract:

Unlike restaurants that prepare food on-demand, pre-prepared food venues (or soup-pot restaurants) in Cambodia and other Asian countries make their decisions about what to cook in a more complicated food-society nexus, factoring in their culinary skill, seasonality of ingredients, and diners’ expectations for variety. As such, soup-pot restaurants exist as tenuous brokers between rural food customs and modern expectations of city dwellers. For urban migrants, these familiar locales are an invaluable resource in overcoming the economic and social challenges of transitioning to the city.

For long-time urban dwellers, they are a transparent window into the agricultural and market cycles that they encounter less in the city, as well as an opportunity to re-acquaint with national cuisine. Fulfilling the expectations of rural and urban patrons, however, requires carefully crafting an experience that balances the agricultural and social dynamics of rural eating customs with city comforts. Under good management, soup-pot restaurants can accomplish this while also serving as a space of dietary learning, providing meals that are culturally understood to be balanced and nutritious, while exposing children and adults to culinary diversity. As a site of research, these restaurants can be seen as potential innovators for managing the consequences of industrialization on food and agriculture.
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