What draws you to this area of research?:
Through an interest in questions of universality and particularity which were nurtured by my feminist critique of human rights and religion, I grew increasingly certain that I needed to undertake work in one particular context rather than pursue purely abstract philosophical scholarship. I became intrigued by the complex context of Cambodia which has unique postcolonial (and post Pol Pot) positioning and new (or recently reinstituted) religious traditions. In this specific location, I will listen intently to what women are saying to contribute to widespread understanding of religious women’s experience in Cambodia and to help create a dialogue across boundaries. I am motivated by my intent to create avenues in various contexts for improving women’s lives.
Would you like to collaborate?
List areas for collaboration (research studies, publishing, conference presentations, etc.):
I would love to collaborate with others who have similar concerns or whose studies overlap in some way with mine. The website I have created intends to help build this community, to be a resource for people interested in women’s studies, ethics, ethnography, religious studies and Cambodian studies. The resource will be made richer through contributions from people with diverse frameworks. In addition to engaging the scholarly community, I hope that this website can include wisdom of people outside of academia who also share these transnational feminist concerns, including wisdom of Cambodian women.
Would you say your research is Transdisciplinary?:
Yes. Coming from a standpoint of postcolonial feminism, my research necessarily spans the fields of ethics, sociology and ethnography, religion, and language, cultural and political study of Cambodia.
Publications / Presentations:
- “Harmonizing Particularity of Religions and Universality of Human Rights: Critique of Traditional ‘Top Down’ Approach and Proposed Alternative,” Journal of Religion and Human Rights, Issue 4.1
- Presentation at Wecsor (Western Commission for the Study of Religion) March 2008: “Feminist Critique of Human Rights and Religion: Case Study of ICHR (International Convention on Human Rights)”
Future goals as a scholar:
Informed by postcolonial feminist thought, cognizant of my own feminist convictions, I intend to be in dialogue with women I research. I hope not just to study “subjects” but to interact and to apply wisdom of Khmer women in other contexts, including my home context. I look forward to teaching, publishing, and collaborating with organizations that are interested in making connections across boundaries to improve women’s quality of life.
Must-read books or articles in your field:
- Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.
- Narayan, Uma. “Essence of Culture and a Sense of History: A Feminist Critique of Cultural Essentialism.” In Decentering the Center: Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial, and Feminist World. Uma Narayan and Sandra Harding, eds., Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.
- Chong, Kelly H. Deliverance and Submission: Evangelical Women and the Negotiation of Patriarchy in South Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2008.
- Derks, Annuska. Khmer Women on the Move: Exploring Work and Life in Urban Cambodia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2008.
- Lilja, Mona. Power, Resistance and Women Politicians in Cambodia: Discourses on Emancipation. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2008.
Helpful resources at CGU:
Perhaps most valuable aspect of Claremont is the access to a large number of scholars in diverse fields. In my time at Claremont, I have worked with faculty in the Intercollegiate Women’s Studies Program, the Cultural Studies department at CGU, the other Claremont Colleges, and Claremont School of Theology.
Helpful resources outside of CGU (blogs, websites, social networking sites, etc. that connect with your areas of research):
I have found the greater Los Angeles area religiously, ethnically, and culturally rich and in particular I have benefited from connecting with a local Cambodian Buddhist Society.
My project is in formative stages, fueled by a passion for justice, influenced by struggles for realization of human rights, informed by a critique of Orientalism, yet wary of relativism. I look forward to continuing to refine my ideas to formulate a specific research goal and theoretical framework.
PUBLISHED SPRING 2010
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