The application period is closed

Dissertation Research Fellowships

Deadline: To be announced


The Center for Khmer Studies (CKS) provides in-country research fellowships for US, Cambodian, and French scholars (or EU citizens holding a degree from a French university) and doctoral students on a yearly basis.

CKS Dissertation Research Fellows are given direct funding for their research and access to in-country resources, and are provided with logistical support and contacts while in-country. These fellowships are available for a maximum of 11 months of research.

These fellowships are open to PhD candidates in all disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities who seek to pursue further research focusing on Cambodia alone or on Cambodia within a regional context.

Scholars can conduct research in other countries in mainland Southeast Asia (including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and southern China) provided that some portion of their research is undertaken in Cambodia.

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Research Topics

Please note, CKS is also interested in the following research topics which you may consider for your application.

This fellowship will fund four months of ethnographic field research in the village of Svay, to conduct interviews with elders as a means of evaluating previous, long-term ethnographic research on the community. May Ebihara was one of only two anthropologists to conduct ethnographic village studies in pre-war Cambodia; Ebihara did her fieldwork in Svay, in southern Kandal province, in 1959-60. Ebihara’s doctoral dissertation, Svay: A Khmer Village in Cambodia, was recently published as a book for the first time. CKS is currently translating this classic ethnography into Khmer. What remains to be completed is a book-length manuscript on life in the village across the dramatic events of the second half of the 20th century, including the reconstruction of social life in the village after the devastation wrought during the Khmer Rouge era. The manuscript is to focus on the lives of approximately a dozen individuals from six main families in the village, telling their stories across this sixty-year period and weaving them together to tell the history of the village. The plan is to review the historical data, travel to Cambodia to conduct additional interviews with surviving elders, and then write the manuscript. The study will be an important contribution to the literature on Cambodia; it will constitute the only long-term study of a single village from before the war years to the present. New historical data on that period has become available owing to the release of US government records, particularly on the bombing of Cambodia. This includes data on specific bombing missions conducted in the Svay region in the early 1970s. Looking at the lives of various individuals during this time of upheaval will enrich our understanding of changing social relations, kinship relations, local level leadership, gender relations, and religion in village life.

In modern Cambodia, as in other parts of Southeast Asia, Buddhist prophesies about the inevitable decline of the Buddha’s teachings (Dhamma), the end of religion, and the appearance of the next Buddha have served as powerful and pervasive responses to social turmoil, violence and changes in the sociopolitical order. When Religion Ends: Buddhist Prophetic Temporality in Cold War Southeast Asia examines the importance of Buddhist ideas of time and history during two critical segments of the Cold War period in Cambodia, arguing for their importance in the decolonizing Theravāda world in relation to nation- building, regional Buddhist networks, and anti-communism, and as a way of ordering and interpreting the traumatic violence of the 1970s Khmer Rouge genocide and ensuing civil war. The archives and libraries to be consulted in Cambodia contain historical documents and other materials (such as film reels, photographs, and other images) that are not available outside of the country.

Research proposals that address sustainable urban development (including areas such as resilience, vulnerability, mobility, smart cities, etc.), economic transition (especially the move from low middle income to middle income status), microfinance, debt and popular livelihood (in both rural and peri-urban areas), social entrepreneurship and impact investing, or that adopt a behavioral science focus are also welcome.

CKS Fellow Benefit

All CKS Fellows are provided direct funding for their research, access to CKS resources, as well as in-country logistical support and contacts. The CKS library also provides free access to JSTOR for its Senior Fellows.

Selection Criteria

The Selection Committee will assess each application on the basis of the candidate’s submitted project description, their academic and/or professional record, and the quality of their references. Because members of the Selection Committee represent different academic disciplines, applicants must explain the nature and significance of their projects in terms understandable to a non-specialist audience.

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For additional information, please Contact Us at our Cambodian offices. 

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