Interactions with a Violent Past: Reading Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam

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Edited by Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe, Introduction by Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe, Contributions by Sina Emde, Oliver Tappe, Markus Schlecker, Elaine Russell, Christina Schwenkel, Vatthana Pholsena, Susan Hammond, Krisna Uk and Ian G. Baird

There has been little research on the lasting impact of the violence of Second and Third Indochina Wars on local societies and populations, in Vietnam as well as in Laos and Cambodia. Today's Lao, Vietnamese and Cambodian landscapes bear the imprint of competing violent ideologies and their perilous material manifestations. From battlefields and massively bombed terrain to reeducation camps and resettled villages, the past lingers on in the physical environment. The nine essays in this volume discuss post-conflict landscapes as contested spaces imbued with memory-work conveying differing interpretations of the recent past, expressed through material (even, monumental) objects, ritual performances, and oral narratives (or silences).

While Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese landscapes are filled with tenacious traces of a violent past, creating an unsolicited and malevolent sense of place among their inhabitants, they can in turn be transformed by actions of resilient and resourceful local communities.

"The quality of scholarship in the book as a whole is excellent as are each of the individual articles...all of the articles in the text make significant contributions to our understanding of the topics contained therein." - Eve Monique Zucker

"...a major contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural impact of the wars for Indochina on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam...succeeds in providing us with new insights into the socio-cultural consequences of war in this part of the world and how the peoples who suffered through it still cope with this violent past in a variety of different and ever-changing ways." - Christopher Goscha

"...these contributors bridge multiple languages, archives and fragmented geographies to shed light on a little studied, deeply traumatized part of the world. Engaging absences in the literature and the diversity of perspectives and experiences on the ground certainly takes precedence, and Interactions with a Violent Past is exemplary in this respect.” - David Biggs

Vatthana Pholsena is a Research Fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Currently based in Singapore, she is also the representative for the Institute of Research on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC).

Oliver Tappe is a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany.

Publication Year: 2013
312 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-701-3, Paperback

NUS Press and IRASEC