(This event is organized by MEI’s Political Economy Research Cluster, as part of its monthly seminar series.)
The history of the Cham is characterized by events that resulted in the geographic displacement and political disposession of the community. As a result of this, and in the wake of the Khmer Rouge period in which Islamic institutions and leadership were comprehensively eliminated, Cham people have found different ways of considering their communal history and their place within the Cambodian State, the Malay world and the Muslim Umma. The result of this has been increasing divisions in the community about the validity of Cham history as grounding for communitarian identity and the compatibility of Cham culture and Islamic orthopraxy. The arrival of missionaries representing foreign understandings of the Muslim religion have created new opportunities for community formation and rebuilding through the provision of economic aid and educational opportunities, as well as new narratives of histroy and community that Cham people have used to reimagine their place in the religion and the wider world.
About the Speaker
Alberto Pérez Pereiro is the General Manager of Breogán Consulting, where he has worked projects concerning Khmer language education, Cham language script, and cultural and social development. He received his PhD in Anthropology at Arizona State University for research conducted among the Muslims of Cambodia into the intersection of historical memory and Islamic identity in the country. This dissertation shed light on the ways in which Cham people imagine their history and the impact that this has had on the acceptance of Muslim missionaries from abroad as well as their relationship with the Buddhist, Khmer majority of the country.