This lecture is an exploration of Cambodian high society during the French colonial period. It focuses on Thiounn, the « Palace Minister » (1864-1946), a biography. A Study of a social milieu and a prosopography of the Khmer administrative elite at the time of the Treaty of the French Protectorate (1863) until Cambodia’s Independence (1953).
By means of the biography of Samdech Veang Thiounn, the most famous Cambodian Minister during the Protectorate, this research aims at studying and understanding the relationships, practices and cultural values that were at play among members of the Council of Minister.
Drawing on archival materials from the National Archives of Cambodia and the Archives de la France d’Outre-Mer, the methodology used for this historical research is a combination of prosopographical approach (through the notion of network and social relations in the colonial context) and a biographical approach based on individual story-telling in Cambodian society. One of the objectives of this project is to assess how these administrative documents can contribute to a better understanding of the social history of the country.