The epistemological shift from palace chronicles to scholarly Khmer historiography under French colonial rule


Theara Thun

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 51(1-2), 132-153.

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Abstract: Identifying the role of colonial-sponsored institutions and written texts produced by local scholars, this article argues that, although Cambodian scholars’ intellectual orientation was not necessarily restricted to French scholarship, French colonial rule had played the key role in introducing modern historiography and creating the platforms for the epistemological transition in Cambodia which underwent different categories of knowledge adoption and various projects of translation of local individuals. Capturing the dynamic of the epistemological transition allows us to highlight a broader picture of the interplay between a long-existing body of knowledge and more contemporary scholarship under Western colonisation.

About the author: Theara Thun was a HYI-NUS Joint Doctoral Scholar from 2012-2016.