The Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series presents

"Circulations of the Future, Specters of the Past: The Speculative Urbanism of Phnom Penh"
with Sylvia Nam, UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, UC Riverside
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
3:30-5:00 PM
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 3323

In this Nam traces the emergence of Phnom Penh as a city of speculation. If earlier, the Khmer Rouge coordinated the city’s exit from history through its total emptying in 1975, the post-conflict city has become a frontier of investment and wealth creation. Positioned as the next “Asian” city in a region of booming metropolises, Phnom Penh’s promise lies in its economic and spatial future. In the last ten years, Korean investors have marshaled the most ambitious projects for the capital. In fact, it is by underwriting the future of Phnom Penh that these investors seek to consolidate the developmental achievements of Korea and to mark Seoul as an icon of a possible urban future. But there are other temporalities at play. Multiple efforts by the state to reform property beginning in the 1980s legislated conflicting notions of value while opening up the built environment as a prime site of speculative activity. In a city without a master plan and without a central valuation authority, speculation continues apace with Phnom Penh boasting one of the most expensive property markets in Southeast Asia. She accordingly examines how pasts and futures intersect to produce the contemporary city.

For further information, please contact Tami Hoksbergen,

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