Marian Miner Cook

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The Cambodian Genocides of 1975-79 in the Global History of Genocide

Mon, October 30, 2023
Dinner Program
Ben Kiernan

How does the Cambodian tragedy of Pol Pot's revolution (1975-1979) fit into the global history of genocide? The Cambodian case can be understood as part of a long history of mass atrocities stemming back to ancient Sparta, but also drawing from modernity. In his lecture, Professor Ben Kiernan, founder of Yale University's Genocide Studies Program, and General Editor of the new 3-volume Cambridge World History of Genocide, will present the case of Cambodia in the light of ancient and modern genocides, delineating the importance of history, specific cultural contexts, and patterns in genocidal ideas and practices.

Ben Kiernan is the A.Whitney Griswold Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University, and a Faculty Affiliate in International Security Studies at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs. He was founding Director of the Cambodian Genocide Program (1994-99) and of the Genocide Studies Program ( from 1998-2015, and was chair of Yale’s Council on Southeast Asia Studies from 2010-15. He is the General Editor of The Cambridge World History of Genocide (3 vols., 2023).

Kiernan is the author of How Pol Pot Came to Power (1985); The Pol Pot Regime (1996); Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia (2007); Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur (2007); and Việt Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present (2017). His work has appeared in fourteen languages, and is featured in Southeast Asian History: Essential Readings, and in Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide.

Blood and Soil won the Independent Publishers’ 2008 gold medal for the best work of history, and the 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize for the best book dealing with the Holocaust in its broadest context. Its German translation was Nonfiction Book of the Month. Kiernan received the 2002 Critical Asian Studies Prize for the anthology Conflict and Change in Cambodia, and a 2018 “Inspiring Yale Award” in the Yale School of Graduate Studies. For three decades, Kiernan documented the crimes of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Under his direction, Yale’s Cambodian Genocide Program established the Documentation Center of Cambodia, uncovered the archives of the Khmer Rouge secret police, detailed the case for an international tribunal, and won multiple internet awards.

Professor Kiernan's lecture is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

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