Philippe Peycam is the director of the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, the Netherlands. He is a trained historian whose recent book traces the origins of a Vietnamese public culture of contestation during the colonial occupation, The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism: Saigon 1916-30, was recently published by Columbia University Press (May, 2012). For 10 years, Dr Peycam worked as founding director of the Center for Khmer Studies, an academic and capacity building organization in Cambodia, a hybrid transnational institutional model which is both Cambodian and American (a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers network). This double trajectory stems from an early interest in phenomena such as colonialism and modes of resistance to it; the creative role of the city as a privileged environment for new forms of social and cultural interactions, and, ultimately, consciousness; the importance of cultural forms and representations from material and immaterial heritages to institutional knowledge production, and the challenge of building cross-cultural, transnational institutional bridges out of these contexts. He sees these intellectual interests as having implications for concrete development policies in today’s postcolonial societies. From 2010-2011, he was a United States Institute of Peace’s Jenning Randolph Fellow. Since 2009, he is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
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