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A collection of articles

I’ve been talking to reporters a bit, lately. Here are some articles that resulted.

The cycle of rice: Part 3: Rice For the Spirits“, an article on Pchum Ben by Anthony Jensen and Kang Sothear, photos by John Vink, whose photographic series on “The Cycle of Rice” extends (far) beyond this article.

And, a nice short video!

Cambodian Pchum Ben festival is a time to feed hungry ghosts, another article on Pchum Ben, by Nathan Thompson

Buddhist monks, death rituals and black magic in Cambodia, by Erin Hale, a series of short answers excerpted from a lengthier interview on Deathpower.

Grave Lines: The democratization of Cambodia’s Coffin Industry, by Maddy Crowell and Mom Kunthear

The bewitching allure of magic tattoos, by Harriet Fitch Little, on the fad of non-Khmer getting ‘traditional’ Sak Yoan (Sak Yantra) tattoos.

 

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Launching Deathpower in Cambodia

I’m particularly pleased that the first event for my recently published book, Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia [ahem: there’s a coupon code on that page], (available from the publisher, Columbia UP, here / Amazon here) will be in Cambodia itself. That feels not only appropriate to me, but important.

Tuesday, 19 January, 7 PM, at Meta House.

The work this book represents depends centrally and non-negotiably on those in Cambodia who spoke at length with me over the more than three years of fieldwork that constituted my engagement with the topic in Cambodia (primarily 2003-2006, but in shorter trips after that period as well). More particularly, it could never have been done without the tenacity, intelligence, and research of my friend and fellow-researcher Heng Chhun Oeurn, who worked with me throughout that period. She’s agreed to attend the book launch, though I’m not yet certain she’ll be willing to join me in addressing the audience, as I have asked.

So: if you’re in Phnom Penh or the nearby environs tomorrow night, at 7 PM, please join us at Meta House for the launch, organized by Mekong Review and Monument Books. And come up to say hello if you like.

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I was just at the “Imagining Cambodia” conference at Northern Illinois University this last weekend, which was a great success; so many excellent presentations. My own paper, “Nuon Chea’s New Buddhism,” was a presentation of an in-process paper on Nuon Chea and his attitudes toward Buddhism, drawing largely on my 2005 interview with him at his home in Pailin. I’ll note here when that paper is submitted for publication.

In my email this morning I was informed that my latest publication, “Khmer spirits, Chinese bodies: Chinese spirit mediums and spirit possession rituals in contemporary Cambodia,” was published today in an edited volume from Thomas A. Reuter and Alexander Horstmann, titled, Faith in the future: Understanding the Revitalization of Religions and Cultural Traditions in Asia. It represents a tentative new direction for myself, and explores the concepts of neak ta  and their common characteristics in Cambodia, especially as regards multi-ethnic contexts.

Here is a photo of one of the two mediums discussed in the paper.

Bentougong from Pailin

One of the two mediums’ performances discussed in the paper

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New publication

Bentougong from Pailin

One of the two mediums’ performances discussed in the paper

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LTO Cambodia, Chinese Death Rituals, and Stupid Stupid Laws

I recently discovered LTO Cambodia, a blog describing itself merely as “A Barang in the Land of the Khmer.” I’m so grateful to the author of that blog for photoblogging the excellent, excellent – looking exhibit of old maps of Kampot at the French Cultural Center.  They even tagged and labeled some of the old maps with contemporary locations! Oh, the nerdvana of this!

The photo below is from that post. Click here to see the whole post.

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