ISBN: 9788776940010

Lost Goddesses: The Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History


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Trudy Jacobsen

2008. 336 pp., illustrated

  • First study to address the place of women in Cambodian history.
  • Revises accepted perspectives in the history and geopolitical organization of Cambodia since c. 230 C.E.

Women had a high status in pre-modern Southeast Asia; this is constantly stated, especially in relation to discussions on the status of women today in the region. Why, then, is it that the position of women there today is far from equitable? Few studies have examined how or when—let alone why—this change came about.

In a narrative and visual tour de force, Trudy Jacobsen examines the relationship between women and power in Cambodian history. Here, she seeks to describe when and why the status of women changed and what factors contributed to these changes. Although Cambodian women have been represented at different times as ‘powerless’ in western analyses, the author argues that they have continued to exercise authority outside those areas of concern to western constructs of power.