Archiving the Unspeakable
Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Series: Critical Human Rights
Title Page, Copyright Page
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Silence, Agency, and the Social Life of Records
The story of the Tuol Sleng mug shots is perhaps best intro- duced with the story of one woman and one record. On October 12, 1976, a young Cambodian woman, Hout Bophana, was arrested by the Khmer Rouge secret police and sent to Tuol Sleng prison (known also...
1. The Making of Records
The first stage in the social life of the Tuol Sleng mug shots is their creation as bureaucratic records within the Khmer Rouge prison system. Tuol Sleng prison was situated at the pinnacle of the Khmer Rouge regime, and photography was situated at the center of the Tuol...
2. The Making of Archives
We now turn to the archivization of the records, or the process by which the mug shots were collected, preserved, and presented as archives. For Trouillot, archives are institutions of immense social power in that they both “organize facts and sources” and...
3. The Making of Narratives
Until very recently, it was taboo in Cambodia to discuss the Khmer Rouge. The regime was conspicuously absent from classrooms, and parents rarely discussed their experiences with their children. In the past decade, foreign tourists have been the primary visitors to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Until 2009, when DC- Cam commissioned...
4. The Making of Commodities
During visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in December 2011 and January 2012, I was stunned to see both Bou Meng and Chum Mey—the two known surviving adult Tuol Sleng prisoners— in the courtyard of the museum selling DC- Cam publications that...
Conclusion: The Archival Performance of Human Rights and the Ethics of Looking
Tracing the social life of Khmer Rouge mug shots uncovers moments of silence and acts of silencing as the photographs were created, transformed into archives, and activated by survivors and by victims’ family members as they craft narratives about the regime. Through these various activations, the mug shots enable Cambodians and the international...
Page Count: 245
Illustrations: 27 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: Critical Human Rights
Series Editor Byline: Steve J. Stern and Scott Straus, Series Editors See more Books in this Series
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