One of the interesting sessions from NAFEA this year was Viet Le's paper What Remains: Returns, Confrontations, Representation, and Traumatic Memory in S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine and Refugee.
Viet Le from the University of Southern California was looking at two documentaries, S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003) and Refugee (2004). The focus was how Khmer and others think about returns, traumatic memory and representation. And what remains. By remains, Viet Le meant "real and spectral bodies, alive and dead; as well as the traces of what is left behind, resuscitated in collective and individual memory and history."
Viet Le's paper touched on the themes of loss, melancholia, masculinity, witnessing and the politics of representation and ethics.
In this particular session, the participants also had a chance to hear from Leakhena Nou, Asiroh Cham, Chanthan Pich, Sundaram Rama, Nushin Sarkarati and Storm Tiv who focues on the Cambodian Diaspora Victims' Participation Project, which was a collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Institute at New York University and the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia.