Making (In?)visible: Selectivity, Visibility and Authenticity in Cambodia’s sites of Atrocity

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This article examines victim representation in former atrocity sites in Cambodia. It concentrates on Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek, two prominent sites for the detention and torture of suspected enemies of the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime and the subsequent creation of mass graves. These sites of trauma, memory, and transitional justice are inextricably linked to the experiences of victims. Yet, the voice of victims, their visibility, and authentic representations of the past are not always centred in Cambodia’s atrocity sites. Drawing on empirical fieldwork in Cambodia and an interdisciplinary literature, this article interrogates the intersections between selectivity, visibility, and authenticity in sites of atrocity associated with the Cambodian genocide. As this paper demonstrates, engaging with these themes of selectivity, visibility, and authenticity, and by extension issues of, for example, “who” is recognized as a victim, “how” responsibility for past horrors is represented, “which” sites become tourist facing attractions, and “why” certain narratives of the past are prioritized, is essential to recognizing the rights, humanity, and dignity of victims and survivors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-70
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Issue number1
Early online date09 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • History
  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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