Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Books on Cambodia

This is a selection of titles from our collection of books on Cambodia:

Economic History of Cambodia in the Twentieth Century by Margaret Slocomb. The course of economic change in 20th-century Cambodia was marked by a series of deliberate "conscious human efforts" that were typically extreme and ideologically driven. While colonisation, protracted war and violent revolution are commonly blamed for Cambodia's failure to modernise its economy in the 20th century, Margaret Slocomb's Economic History of Cambodia in the Twentieth Century questions whether these circumstances changed the underlying structures and relations of production. She also asks whether economic factors in some way instigated war and revolution. In exploring these issues, the book tracks the erratic path taken by Cambodia's political elite and earlier colonial rulers to develop a national economy. To document Cambodia's path towards a modern economy, the author draws on resources from the State Archives of Cambodia not previously referenced in scholarly texts. The book closes around 2005, by which time Cambodia had been reintegrated into both the regional and the global economy as a fully-fledged member of the World Trade Organization.

Cambodia: The Land and its People by Barry Broman. Some 400 photo studies with short explanatory commentaries form this presentation of both the notable historic temples and statuary of Cambodia, and aspects of the contemporary lives of Cambodia's people. Full colour photographs of a few native flowers, and black-and-white prints from earlier years are included in what would be a lasting souvenir for any tourist to the country.

A Shattered Youth: Surviving the Khmer Rouge by Sathavy Kim. Sathavy Kim was a 21-year-old law student in Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouge invaded and emptied the city on 17 April 1975. She writes of the forced march of herself and her family which started her suffering as, for four years, a forced labourer in the remote countryside. She writes of the numbing of mind, emotion, and value systems which was so often the result of - sometimes permanently - of the relentlessly imposed suffering. After the Vietnamese 1979 takeover she was reunited with the surviving members of her family and shared the handships of the country's slow and hesitant recovery. The final section tells how 28 years later, she revisits the area of the prison camp and meets some other ex-prisoners. With black-and-white photographs, glossary and a summary of the administrative system of Democratic Kampuchea.

Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia edited by Louise Allison Cort and Paul Jett. Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia celebrates the accomplishments of Khmer bronze casters and their perfection of skill and aesthetic expression over nearly two millennia. A key focus of the book and exhibition is the museum's Metals Conservation Laboratory, which was designed and equipped with guidance from the Freer and Sackler Galleries' Department of Conservation and Scientific Research. Highlights include the first project to be undertaken by the new laboratory - the treatment of an important cache of seven early Buddhist bronze images, including two works from China, that vividly represent the interactions of artistic styles and religious traditions in Cambodia in the sixth and seventh centuries. Discovered in 2006, the seven newly conserved images will be presented outside Cambodia for the first time in the Gods of Angkor exhibition.

Cambodians and their Doctors: A Medical Anthropology of Colonial and Post-Colonial Cambodia by Jan Ovesen and Ing-Britt Trankell. Historical anthropology and contemporary ethnography blend in this study of medicine in Cambodia. Recent field work and archival material have been brought together to enable understanding of today's intertwining of indigenous Khmer beliefs and practices and the continuing medical and health framework introduced by the French colonial governments. Among the many subjects explored and assessed are: the "Socialist Health" activity during the Khmer Rouge regime; policies, practices and beliefs associated with leprosy; the medicalization of and traditional approaches to motherhood; contemporary usages and expectations of private and state medical services and also pharmaceuticals; the disconnected ways of foreign NGOs; and contemporary healthcare resources. With source list, bibliography, black-and-white photographs and index.

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