My research traces the transformation of Cambodia’s political system since the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords. I first visited Cambodia in 2005 and spent half a year in a small rural village to conduct a survey for an international development organization. I have been fascinated by the country, its people and the Khmer language ever since. A particular focus of my work lies on the transnational sphere as a public arena that shapes the identities, ideas, and interests of Cambodia’s political actors. Drawing on archival materials and interviews, I explore the sources of legitimacy that Cambodian actors mobilize to shape their policies and build authority vis-à-vis their international and local audience.
Past research projects include the DFG (German Research Foundation) funded project “The Institutionalization of Interpretative Authority in Post-Conflict Societies. An Analysis of the Transitional Authority in Kosovo and Cambodia” (2010-2014). In the context of this project, I followed the trail of documents left by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC, 1992-93) around the world: I worked in archives in Cambodia, France, and the United States. From 2016 to 2018 I was a Tobis Fellow at the University of California Irvine, where the focus of my research gradually moved to contemporary democratization and nationbuilding practices.
My current work centres on the ways in which politicians and political activists engage with the practice and rhetoric of the ‘international community’ in Cambodia. It emphasizes in the discursive and affective dimensions of political change. Since 2019, I am a member of the editorial team of the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, a publication committed to critical analysis of international interventions, focusing on interactions and practices that shape, influence and transform states and societies.
For current publication information, please visit my ANU Researchers page (link below).