Overturning the Basket: Nostalgia, Maoism, and the Roots of the Communist Party of Kampuchea's Ideology

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    Abstract

    This paper distinguishes between Mao Zedong's nationalism, which was preoccupied with the future, and the Communist Party of Kampuchea's (CPK) past-oriented nostalgia. It shows through textual comparison that Maoism served only as a rhetorical - rather than practical - influence on the doctoral dissertations of Hou Yuon and Khieu Samphan, who became leading figures in the CPK. An analysis of the scholarly definition of "nationalism" demonstrates that nostalgia plays a far more significant role in nationalist ideologies than scholars have recognized. By applying Roxanne Panchasi's concept of the "culture of anticipation" and Ben Kiernan's theory of the "cult of antiquity" to the foundational national texts written by Chinese leader Mao Zedong and the Khmer intellectuals, respectively, the central role played by nostalgia in their ideological formations becomes vividly apparent. The paper concludes that the Khmer intellectuals inverted the core precepts of Maoism, pursuing instead an imaginaire of an undisturbed, agrarian, and economically self-sufficient country dependent exclusively on peasant cultivation of the Cambodian countryside.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-113
    JournalStrata University of Ottawa Graduate Student History Review
    Volume5
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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