Conference Proceedings

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Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia

Cambodia is undergoing dramatic political, economic and social changes, placing new pressures on minority groups and vulnerable peoples. Some changes are driven by Cambodia’s uniquely troubled history. Other forces are global, affecting Cambodia and all other nations in the region. The conference invites innovative interpretations of “margins,” “borders” and “minority groups.”

The problems of ethnic groups are one central concern. Transnational and cross-border influences are creating new challenges and opportunities for ethnic minorities. The Cham and other Muslim communities are reconnecting to international Islam. Labor markets cross national boundaries. Vietnamese migrant workers travel to Cambodia, as Cambodian workers travel to Thailand. International loans, agencies and programs targeting “development,” which are in themelves an often disruptive cross-border force, are transforming many Cambodian institutions and redefining traditional social margins in the process. This clash of forces is most profoundly felt by the indigenous peoples of the northeast. The conference invites examination of other minorities and vulnerable groups “on the margins” who have been systematically denied access to important social resources. Theories of social exclusion teach that the landlessness, street children, victims of domestic violence and gay and lesbian persons are on the margins of different Cambodian institutions and that borders and boundaries need not be of a strictly geographic nature.

Developing from the fifth semester session of the Center for Khmer Studies’ Rockefeller Foundation-funded Building Capacity in Higher Education program covering vulnerable peoples and ethnic minorities in Mainland Southeast Asia, this two-day conference provides a forum in which early career Cambodian academics present their research alongside international scholars with related interests. With an emphasis on developing comparisons between Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia, individual presentations and panel discussions provide opportunities for the presentation of research, trends and analyses covering minority groups in Southeast Asia.

Price in Cambodia: US$ 13 (English)

Phnom Bakheng Workshop on Public Interpretation Proceedings

Phnom Bakheng, the tenth-century temple-mount, has been designated by the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC) as an urgent priority – the “most threatened temple in Angkor.” As Angkor continues to draw a new influx of tourists each year, an integrated plan for the visitor experience at Phnom Bakheng is necessary to ensure a “managed visit” where visitors are accommodated and educated about the history of Phnom Bakheng and about the ongoing conservation methods developed to protect and maintain the site.

The conference, organized by the World Monuments Fund under the auspices of the APSARA Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap, was held at the CKS’s campus at Wat Damnak in Siem Reap. It brought together leading international experts from a range of disciplines in order to gather the most current research on this key monument over time. During the two-and-a-half days, participants developed an unprecedented model for planning for this site by focusing not only on conservation requirements but also on the demands of tourism and the needs of local populations. Among the participants were Khmer experts whose ongoing contributions to site preservation engage the local population in the safeguarding of their heritage.

The publication of the proceedings includes contributions from specialists on the site’s history, ecology, art and architecture, tourism, and heritage planning. Jane Clark Chermayeff & Associates, world-wide leaders in interpretation and consultants to the World Monuments Fund, served as the principal organizer of this conference and as the editor of this seminal publication.