Cambodian Culture since 1975
Homeland and Exile
Since the civil war of the 1970s, Cambodia has suffered devastating upheavals that killed a million ' people and exiled hundreds of thousands. This book is the first to examine Cambodian culture after the ravages of the Pol Pot regime-and to bear witness to the transformation and persistence of tradition among contemporary Cambodians at home and abroad. Bringing together essays by Khmer and Western scholars in anthropology, linguistics, literature, and ethnomusicology, the volume documents the survival of a culture that many had believed lost. Individual chapters explore such topics as Buddhist belief and practice among refugees in the United States, distinctive features of modern Cambodian novels, the lessons taught by Khmer proverbs, some uses of metaphor by the Khmer Rouge regime, the state of traditional music, the recent revival of a form of traditional theater, the concept of pain in Khmer culture, changing conceptions of gender, and refugees' interpretation of American television. Together the essays map a contemporary Cambodian culture, which, for over two hundred thousand Khmers, is now firmly entwined in the social fabric of the urban West.