Representation in and of Transitional Justice: Cambodia and Beyond

On 26 and 27 April 2018, the University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice’s Critical Approaches to International Critical Law (CAICL) research cluster will host a workshop on representation and transitional justice. This workshop will explore questions of aesthetics as they relate to transitional justice in both the specific context of Cambodia and more generally in post-conflict societies.

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Exhibition of Khmer Rouge era images at the former residence of Khmer Rouge commander Chhit Choeun aka ‘Ta Mok’ in Anlong Veng, Cambodia (Source: Documentation Center of Cambodia)

In this two-day workshop, we aim to analyse, and critique, representations of conflict and post-conflict from an inter-disciplinary perspective. In particular, we are interested in the ethics of representation, whether this is restricted and informed by a disciplinary perspective or by cross-disciplinary concerns.

Questions to be discussed are:

  • How do Law and Art construct notions of victims of conflict?
  • How do they write complementing or contradictory histories?
  • In what way do these two exercise authority in terms of the construction of a historical narrative about victims of conflict?
  • In how far do they play a role in dealing with the trauma of conflict and in the transitioning of a society?
  • Is there a development case to be made for moving from a narrative of passive victimhood to active agents?
  • What is specific about Cambodia and what can be transferred to other post-conflict societies?
Exhibit entitled ‘Unfinished’ by artist Séra (Ing Phousera). The paintings depict traditional Cambodian funeral urns against abstract Cambodian landscapes. (Source: DC-Cam/Ouch Makara, reproduced with artist’s permission)
‘Falling Apart’ by Séra (Source: Ouch Makara/DC-Cam, reproduced with artist’s permission)


  • Christine Schwöbel-Patel, University of Liverpool (organizer)
  • Randle DeFalco, University of Liverpool (organizer)
  • Savina Sirik, University of Gothenburg/Documentation Center of Cambodia
  • Kunthy Seng, SOAS/Documentation Center of Cambodia
  • Rob Knox, University of Liverpool
  • Alex Batesmith, University of Liverpool
  • Padraig McAuliffe, University of Liverpool
  • Anastasia Tataryn, University of Liverpool
  • Anne Neylon, University of Liverpool
Image of Sleuk Rith – dried leaves that Cambodian religious leaders and scholars have used for centuries to document history, disseminate knowledge, and preserve culture during periods of harsh rule and grave peril. Image depicts Sleuk Riths over 100 years old that are among the few known to have survived Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge (1975-79) (Source: DC-Cam/National Library of Cambodia)