Cambodia’s “Golden Age”: Accessing the Global History of the Sangkum

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Abstract

As archives open up throughout the world, histories are being constantly updated, reconfigured, and expanded. Today in Cambodia, the early postcolonial period is remembered fondly. Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangkum Reastr Niyum (People’s Socialist Community) Party led Cambodia during a period that is often referred to as the ‘golden years’ in Cambodia. However, due to decades of war and political turmoil, popular memory of the Sangkum era is much more robust than actual histories of the Sangkum. This panel examines the Sangkum era in both a postcolonial and global context in an attempt to tease out a more thorough history of Cambodia’s ‘golden years.’ Papers include social development and exchanges, foreign perceptions and interactions with Sangkum Cambodia, state institutions and policies, and the Cold War as the Sangkum understood it. The history of Sangkum Cambodia is beginning to match its place in popular culture due in large part to greater access to history. With materials from Belgrade to Beijing and many depositories in between helping to tell the history of Sangkum Cambodia, this panel will also examine the interplay between accessible and global history and how new technologies and resources are helping to make more history more accessible.