The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty by Philip Taylor (review)

The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty by Philip Taylor (review) DOI: 10.1355/sj30-1k The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty. By Philip Taylor. Copenhagen and Singapore: NIAS Press and NUS Press, 2014. xvii + 316 pp. The ethnic minority populations of Vietnam are hardly understudied, but the gaze of foreign scholars has long skewed towards the northern and central uplands. By comparison, the ethnic Khmer of southern Vietnam, or Khmer Krom, have received relatively little scholarly attention, despite numbering over a million and inhabiting some of the most ecologically and politically sensitive areas of the country. Philip Taylor’s masterful new study does much to remedy this oversight. The product of years of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in over 400 villages across the Mekong Delta and southeastern Vietnam, The Khmer Lands of Vietnam provides a richly illustrated portrait of the Khmer Krom and their environs. The book is replete with oral histories and local legends, which Taylor weaves together with his own analysis and ethnographic observations, providing insights into how Vietnam’s Khmer see themselves, their natural surroundings and their place within nature. The main point advanced by Taylor is that the Khmer Krom are both distinct from their Cambodian brethren and internally differentiated. The diversity of environmental conditions in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty by Philip Taylor (review)

The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty by Philip Taylor (review)


DOI: 10.1355/sj30-1k The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty. By Philip Taylor. Copenhagen and Singapore: NIAS Press and NUS Press, 2014. xvii + 316 pp. The ethnic minority populations of Vietnam are hardly understudied, but the gaze of foreign scholars has long skewed towards the northern and central uplands. By comparison, the ethnic Khmer of southern Vietnam, or Khmer Krom, have received relatively little scholarly attention, despite numbering over a million and inhabiting some of the most ecologically and politically sensitive areas of the country. Philip Taylor’s masterful new study does much to remedy this oversight. The product of years of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in over 400 villages across the Mekong Delta and southeastern Vietnam, The Khmer Lands of Vietnam provides a richly illustrated portrait of the Khmer Krom and their environs. The book is replete with oral histories and local legends, which Taylor weaves together with his own analysis and ethnographic observations, providing insights into how Vietnam’s Khmer see themselves, their natural surroundings and their place within nature. The main point advanced by Taylor is that the Khmer Krom are both distinct from their Cambodian brethren and internally differentiated. The diversity of environmental conditions in southern Vietnam, Taylor argues, has given rise to regionally distinct ways of life, and there are thus multiple ways of “being Khmer Krom” (p. 266), each specific to a particular sub-region. The organization of the book flows from this premise, with each of its seven chapters surveying one such sub-region and its resident Khmer population, tracing the ways in which environmental conditions shape local livelihoods, identities and social organization. In the first two chapters, we visit the eastern Mekong Delta, where the river meets the South China Sea. Chapter One covers the coastal province of Trà Vinh,...
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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Copyright
Copyright © Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-2858
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Abstract

DOI: 10.1355/sj30-1k The Khmer Lands of Vietnam: Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty. By Philip Taylor. Copenhagen and Singapore: NIAS Press and NUS Press, 2014. xvii + 316 pp. The ethnic minority populations of Vietnam are hardly understudied, but the gaze of foreign scholars has long skewed towards the northern and central uplands. By comparison, the ethnic Khmer of southern Vietnam, or Khmer Krom, have received relatively little scholarly attention, despite numbering over a million and inhabiting some of the most ecologically and politically sensitive areas of the country. Philip Taylor’s masterful new study does much to remedy this oversight. The product of years of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in over 400 villages across the Mekong Delta and southeastern Vietnam, The Khmer Lands of Vietnam provides a richly illustrated portrait of the Khmer Krom and their environs. The book is replete with oral histories and local legends, which Taylor weaves together with his own analysis and ethnographic observations, providing insights into how Vietnam’s Khmer see themselves, their natural surroundings and their place within nature. The main point advanced by Taylor is that the Khmer Krom are both distinct from their Cambodian brethren and internally differentiated. The diversity of environmental conditions in

Journal

Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast AsiaInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: Mar 27, 2015

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