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.
"Cambodian Culture Since 1975 is a significant and much-needed contribution to... a rekindling of interest in Khmer studies. For Khmer specialists, Southeast Asian studies scholars and generalists, this highly readable, sensitively written collection of essays is indispensable.... This book has a wealth of ethnographic information and analysis to offer those interested in Khmer studies and those looking for comparative material on diasporic and holocaust experiences, as well as scholars with an interest in Southeast Asian culture.... For any discussion of Cambodia's attempts to come to grips wth its past and look into the future, this book is a valuable and empathetic repository of information that will serve as a model for future work."