From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora

By UCBerkeleyAAADS

Please join the Ethnic Studies Library and Eastwind Books of Berkeley in welcoming Professor Khatharya Um on Wednesday, December 2nd, 6-8pm at the Ethnic Studies Library. Professor Um will discuss her recently published book From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora and mark the opening of an exhibit entitled RE/MEMBERING: Meditation on War, Hope, and Home (curated by Khatharya Um) on display at the Ethnic Studies Library through early Spring 2016.

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War but for Southeast Asians, the war did not end in 1975. In this moment of commemoration and reflection on a war that wrought so much devastation, From the Land of Shadows contemplates the legacies of historical trauma and the struggle of the Cambodian people, both in Cambodia and in diaspora, to make meaning of, heal from, and transcend genocide and violence.

This event will also mark the opening of the Ethnic Studies Library’s new exhibit, RE/MEMBERING: Meditation on War, Hope, and Home, curated by Khatharya Um, which highlights art, poetry, and other cultural productions from the Southeast Asian diaspora that reflect on the experiences of war, genocide, and exile. Please join us for what promises to be a rich discussion about the inter-generational legacies of violence and the struggle for individual and collective healing.

From NYU Press about From the Land of Shadows:

“In a century of mass atrocities, the Khmer Rouge regime marked Cambodia with one of the most extreme genocidal instances in human history. What emerged in the aftermath of the regime’s collapse in 1979 was a nation fractured by death and dispersal. It is estimated that nearly one-fourth of the country’s population perished from hard labor, disease, starvation, and executions. Another half million Cambodians fled their ancestral homeland, with over one hundred thousand finding refuge in America.

From the Land of Shadows surveys the Cambodian diaspora and the struggle to understand and make meaning of this historical trauma. Drawing on more than 250 interviews with survivors across the United States as well as in France and Cambodia, Khatharya Um places these accounts in conversation with studies of comparative revolutions, totalitarianism, transnationalism, and memory works to illuminate the pathology of power as well as the impact of auto-genocide on individual and collective healing. Exploring the interstices of home and exile, forgetting and remembering, From the Land of Shadows follows the ways in which Cambodian individuals and communities seek to rebuild connections frayed by time, distance, and politics in the face of this injurious history.”

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