Gender and Cultural Studies seminar series 30 August
Representations and multiplicity of the gendered experiences of the Cambodian genocide
A transnational feminist study of women’s experiences in the Cambodian genocide demands that all experiences, or as many as possible, are included in the counter-narrative along with the ethnic, religious or class boundaries that are often seen as burdening the analysis. Using research-creation as methodology, this work investigates the multiplicity of the gendered experiences in the Cambodian genocide, the mechanisms by which specific gender relationships were maintained or transformed during Pol Pot’s rule and representations of those experiences in the mainstream narratives on the Cambodian genocide. This research examines the testimonies from women who experienced the Pol Pot rule from various vantage points, including Bet Beoun, who joined the Khmer Rouge; Chan Phai, who was forced to marry and experienced rape by the Khmer soldiers; and Briya, who is a Cham Muslim woman. In a transnational feminist research undertaking, it is also necessary to address the boundaries that can often be rigid and perpetuate an inside/outside relationship. Acknowledging my status as an outsider, this research project takes a collaborative approach with Rohtana Lek, who is an Apsara dancer and teacher in Montreal and a survivor of the Pol Pot regime. Difference, in this case, provides a space for creativity, alliance-building, and understanding the implication of gender and ethnicity in defining women’s various experiences in genocide.
Azra Rashid is a Montreal-based filmmaker and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow in the department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Azra’s research is focused on testimony and representations of gender in the existing discourses of the Cambodian genocide. Her book, Gender, Nationalism and Genocide in Bangladesh: Naristhan/Ladyland, investigates selective remembering of women’s experiences in the widely circulated images of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh and offers a counter-narrative that emphasizes a gendered reading of that genocide.
The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Participants include staff, associates and postgraduate students from the department, as well as presenters from other University of Sydney departments and from outside, both nationally and internationally.
Please join us after the seminar for drinks at the Holme Courtyard Bar
Everyone is welcome to attend.
2019 Seminar Series convenors:
Thom van Dooren and Shawna Tang
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