restricted access Acknowledgments
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xxiii Acknowledgments From Rice Fields to Killing Fields: Nature, Life, and Labor under the Khmer Rouge began with a basic question: How was rice produced under the Khmer Rouge? It is well known that many hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children died from starvation, disease, and exhaustion. These deaths were the direct result of specific policies enacted by the Khmer Rouge, namely, the production of rice for export. How, though, are we to interpret these policies? Various scholars have described these policies as the embodiment of extreme or pure forms of Marxism; others have interpreted these policies as irrational or as purposive attempts to deliberately starve the population into submission. Documentary evidence, however, would seem to belie these explanations. Required was an in-depth study that was grounded not in Khmer Rouge rhetoric but in Marxist political philosophy. What was needed was a reconstruction of the political economy of Democratic Kampuchea under the Khmer Rouge. This book marks an initial attempt at such a reconstruction. This book would not have been possible without the support of the staff at Syracuse University Press, including Alison Maura Shay and Kelly Balenske. Alison has been exceptionally supportive in her time in seeing the book through to completion, from the initial review stage to the final acceptance; Kelly has been particularly helpful in walking the manuscript through to production. Special thanks are extended also to the editorial board at Syracuse University Press, for their critical feedback and pointed questions. The manuscript is considerably better because of their due diligence. At Kent State University, I express my appreciation to Jim Blank, Todd Diacon, Marcello Fantoni, Mandy Munro-Stasiuk, and Scott Sheridan. In Cambodia I am deeply grateful for the support and xxiv  •  Acknowledgments assistance of Youk Chhang and the staff at the Documentation Center of Cambodia. The center has been remarkably generous in providing documents for this project and others over the years. More specifically, I thank Terith Chy, Khamboly Dy, Kok-Thay Eng, Dany Long, Kok-Chhay Ly, Farina So, and Dara Vanthan. Special thanks are extended to Sokvisal Kimsroy and Savina Sirik for their assistance in the field and for their translations of several documents. This book would never have come to fruition without their help. Special thanks are also extended to Stian Rice, who ably drafted the maps. Over the years I have benefited from the assistance and critical feedback of current and former students, including Gabriela Brindis Alvarez, Alex Colucci, Gordon Cromley, Christabel Devadoss, Kathryn Hannum, Sam Henkin, Josh Inwood, Sokvisal Kimsroy, Mark Rhodes, Stian Rice, Savina Sirik, Dave Stasiuk, Rachel Will, and Chris Willer. I have also benefited from the support, advice, and criticism of Caroline Bennet, Daniel Bultmann, Noel Castree, Craig Etcheson, Jeffrey Himel, Rachel Hughes, Helen Jarvis, Ben Kiernan, Don Mitchell, and Simon Springer. I am particularly indebted to Jim Glassman, who read the entire manuscript and provided invaluable feedback. Thanks are also extended to the anonymous reviewers who provided necessary criticism on the initial proposal and subsequent drafts. This research has been supported over the years by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Association of American Geographers ; funding has also been provided by the Department of Geography, the Office of Global Education, and the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University. Portions of this book have appeared in previous publications, and I am thankful for the opportunity to use and expand upon this material. Chapter 4 is based on “Violence, Surplus Production, and the Transformation of Nature during the Cambodian Genocide,” Rethinking Marxism 26, no. 4 (2014): 490–506; parts of chapter 5 appeared as “State Sovereignty, Bioethics , and Political Geographies: The Practice of Medicine under the Khmer Rouge,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30, no. 5 (2012): 842–60; and portions of chapter 7 appeared in “Dead Labor, Acknowledgments  •  xxv Landscapes, and Mass Graves: Administrative Violence during the Cambodian Genocide,” Geoforum 52 (2014): 70–77. Throughout the writing of this manuscript, I have been fortunate to provide preliminary results and interpretations at the following venues: the Department of Geography, California State University at Long Beach; Department of Geography, Ohio State University; Department of Geography , Pennsylvania State University; Department of Geography, San Diego State University; Center for Humanities and Department of Geography , Temple University; and Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin at Madison. I thank the audiences for their comments and suggestions. Closer to home I thank my parents, Dr. Gerald Tyner...


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