A tale of two cities: Angkor and Siem Reap – the evolution of competing sites of memory
Abstract:Reductive histories have shaped the roles of the ruins of Angkor and the neighbouring town of Siem Reap in Cambodia. In Angkor, both the French colonial and subsequent Cambodian regimes found an indispensable source of symbolic material and quarried the metaphors of building for ideological purposes. Reimagined as a French monument and detached from Khmer culture, Angkor eclipsed the modern town. Nevertheless, Siem Reap also provided narratives of progress and modernity before and after independence. The tension between preservation and new construction in a country emerging from a long period of unrest continues to place an interpretative burden on the built environment. Michel de Certeau theorized that 'haunting', the unbidden memories present in the landscape, can be exorcized by the practice of conservation. Oral testimonies suggest the possibility of contestation.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2005
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- Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.
Published in Association with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
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