My research sets out to offer a novel account of Cambodia’s post-conflict reconstruction politics since the 1993 reintroduction of multi-party elections. For my PhD research at the University of Cambridge, I explored the role of nationalist imaginings, discourses and narratives in Cambodia’s new political order. Based on this research, I published the monograph Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination, and Democracy (Cornell SEAP, 2016). In the book I trace out a tension between domestic elite imaginings and the formally liberal democratic framework in which they operate, and assess the implications for democratic practice. I have also published a number of journal articles which from different perspectives examine contemporary efforts by political elites to gain legitimacy in the context of historically inherited constraints, and how these have contributed to producing current political trajectories. For my postdoctoral research, I shifted to analyse Cambodian democratisation through the lens of novel forms of democratic citizenship emerging in Southeast Asia. As part of the KITLV research project “From clients to citizens?”, I examined popular ideas of models of provision, political gift-giving, and citizen rights based on interviews with ordinary Cambodians in the aftermath of the contested 2013 elections.
Currently, my research focuses on the emergence of mass politics in Cambodia from the perspective of charismatic individuals who play an intermediary role between social movements and party politics. I seek to assess what models of citizenship are being forged on the resulting political arenas, and to map the landscape of social mobilisation in Cambodia at the intersection of individuals, social movements, and party politics.
“Good Gifts, Bad Gifts, and Rights: Cambodian Popular Perceptions and the 2013 Elections”, Pacific Affairs, 89 no. 4 (2016): 795-815.
Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination, and Democracy. Cornell University Southeast Asia Publications (2016).
"The Demise of Cambodian Royalism and the Legacy of Sihanouk", SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 31 no. 1 (2016): 1-36.
“Elections and Emerging Citizenship in Cambodia”, in Berenschot, Ward, Schulte Nordholt, Henk & Bakker, Laurens (eds), Citizenship and Democratization in Southeast Asia, Leiden: Brill, (2016).
“Cambodia at a Crossroads: The Narratives of CNRP Supporters”, Internationales Asienforum 46 no. 3-4 (2015): 261-278.
“Review of Brothers in Arms. Chinese aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 by Andrew Mertha.”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 46 no. 2 (2015): 312-314.
“The 2013 Elections and Emerging Forms of Citizenship in Cambodia”, contribution to conference: Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK (ASEASUK), September 2014, Brighton, U.K.
“The politics of entertainment: Popular culture and the making of national identity in contemporary Cambodia”, contribution to conference: International Convention of Asia Scholars 8, June 2013, Macao
"Performance as (re) incarnation: The Sdech Kân narrative," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 44, no. 1 (2013): 4-23.
“Children of former Khmer Rouge cadres”, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 23 no. 4 (2011): 462-468
“Looking back to Sangkum Reastr Niyum – Embodied Politics in the Second Kingdom”, contribution to conference: Centre for Khmer Studies, July 2011, Siem Reap, Cambodia
“The (im)possibility of Cambodian nationalism – views from former Khmer Rouge communities”, contribution to conference: Montréal Life Stories conference ‘Cambodia, from then to now: Memory and plural identities in the aftermath of genocide’, May 2011, Montréal, Canada
"Performance as (Re) Incarnation: The Sdech Kân narrative," contribution to conference: Association of Asian Studies (AAS) / International Convention of Asia Scholars 7, April 2011, Honolulu, US
“The Politics of R2P: Southeast Asian Perspectives”, Cambodian Journal of International Affairs (CJIA), 3 no. 1 (2010).
“‘External’ and ‘Internal’ State Territorialisation and Discourses of Nationalism: Situating the construction of national identity”, contribution to conference: Association of the Study of Nationalities (ASN), May 2009, New York, US