Cambodia and Southeast Asia is undergoing dramatic political, economic and social changes, placing new pressures on minority groups and vulnerable peoples. Some changes are driven by Cambodia’s uniquely troubled history. Other forces are global, affecting Cambodia and all other nations in the region. The conference invites innovative interpretations of "margins," "borders" and "minority groups" in Southeast Asia.
The problems of ethnic groups are one central concern. Transnational and cross-border influences are creating new challenges and opportunities for ethnic minorities. The Cham and other Muslim communities are reconnecting to international Islam. Labor markets cross national boundaries. Vietnamese migrant workers travel to Cambodia, as Cambodian workers travel to Thailand. International loans, agencies and programs targeting "development," itself an often disruptive cross-border force, are transforming many Cambodian institutions and redefining traditional social margins in the process. This clash of forces is most profoundly felt by the indigenous peoples. The conference invites examination of other minorities and vulnerable groups “on the margins” who have been systematically denied access to important social resources. Theories of social exclusion teach that the landlessness, street children, victims of domestic violence and gay and lesbian persons are on the margins of different Cambodian institutions and that significant borders and boundaries need not be of a strictly geographic nature.
Developing from the sixth semester session of the Center for Khmer Studies' Rockefeller Foundation funded Building Capacity in Higher Education (BIC-HE) program covering vulnerable peoples and ethnic minorities in Mainland Southeast Asia, this two day conference provides a forum in which early career Cambodian academics present their research alongside international scholars with related interests. With an emphasis on developing comparisons between Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia, individual presentations and panel discussions provide opportunities for the presentation of research, trends and analyses covering minority groups in Southeast Asia.
Scholars based in Southeast Asia are especially encouraged to participate, and some limited funding may be available to support their attendance.
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