Examining the Agricultural Policies and Practices of the Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979): The case of Trapeang Thmar Reservoir

Authors: Sokvisal Kimsroy*, Kent State University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Environment, Asia
Keywords: policy, practice, genocide, Cambodia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Studio 1, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Trapeang Thmar Reservoir is one of many other reservoirs and irrigation schemes initiated and built by the Democratic Kampuchea regime (1975-1979), commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. It is formally located in Region 5, Northwest Zone during the genocidal period and currently Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia. It is undeniable that this surviving built-environment plays a vital role in representing the past violence, killing, and sacrifice of countless Cambodians, among about 2 million people who perished due to execution, forced labor, malnutrition, and lack of medical treatment. While a large literature on the Cambodian genocide has examined violence, famine, ideology, memorialization, and economics in the context of human-environmental transformation, rarely have any studies empirically analyzed a thorough case study of any particularly site. This study aims to fill in this gap by illustrating how policies and implementations severely impacts countless citizens during such period. It focuses on three main components. First, it examines the Khmer Rouge agricultural policies at the top level of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, especially with regards to rice production. Second, it considers how such policies were carried out at various administrative levels of the Northwest Zone. And lastly, it seeks to explore the daily lives of local residents who were forced to construct the reservoir within in a period of less than a year.

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