Lost Goddesses

The Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History

by Trudy Jacobsen

358 pp., illustrated
Gendering Asia # 4
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Paperback - 2008, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 001 0, £22.50

Women had a high status in pre-modern Southeast Asia; this is constantly stated, especially in relation to discussions on the status of women today in the region. Why, then, is it that the position of women there today is far from equitable? Few studies have examined how or when - let alone why - this change came about.

This is the first study ever to address the place of women in Cambodian history. A narrative and visual tour de force, it revises accepted perspectives in the history and geopolitical organization of Cambodia since c. 230 C.E. In so doing, the book examines the relationship between women and power and analyses the extent of female political and economic participation as revealed in historical sources, including the ways in which women were represented in art and literature.

By taking an analytical approach through the sequence of chronological periods, it is possible to determine when and why the status of women changed and what factors contributed to these changes. Significantly, although Cambodian women have been represented at different times as ’powerless’ in western analyses, they have continued to exercise authority outside those areas of concern to western constructs of power.

This study will be of interest to scholars working in history, anthropology, gender studies, politics, religion, Cambodian/Khmer studies, and Southeast Asian studies, as well as members of the general public.

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    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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