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SE Asia Speaker Series: Dr. Khatharya Um

December 5, 2016 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


From The Land of Shadows: Remembering Violence and the Violence of Remembering

2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge seizure of power in Cambodia on April 17, 1975 and the beginning of the country’s spiraling descent into one of the most extreme revolutionary instances of the 20th century. What emerged in the after­math of the regime’s collapse in 1979 was a nation fractured by death and dispersal. 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.


Professor Khatharya Um will discuss her recently published book From the Land of Shadows, which examines the factors and conditions that produced the genocidal outcome in Cambodia, as well as the struggle of Cambodians, both in Cambodia and in the diaspora, to make meaning of, live with, and transcend this historical trauma in the aftermath.

The talk will situate this genocidal chapter of Cambodia’s history in the longer continuum of war and colonization in Southeast Asia, and of exile.  It will address the tension inherent to both remembering and forgetting, and the challenges that this entails for sharing and transmission across generations.  It will also interrogate the notions of accountability, justice, and reconciliation in the context of the ongoing Khmer Rouge tribunal.


5326614162_18533b6598Khatharya Um
Associate Professor
Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley

Professor Khatharya Um is Associate Professor of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies, and Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  She is also Faculty Academic Director of Berkeley Study Abroad, affiliated faculty of the UC Berkeley Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Center for Race and Gender, Faculty Adviser for the Berkeley Human Rights Center, and member of a UC system-wide Faculty Advisory Board on Southeast Asia. She was a Chancellor Public Scholar.

Professor Um has received numerous awards for her community leadership and service, including congressional recognitions from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. She is the first Cambodian American woman to receive a Ph.D.

Dr. Um’s website:


December 5, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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