Beyond Ethnonyms: writing and unwriting anthropology

My recent publication on Chams Ethnonyms for the journal Moussons is finally online (links at the bottom of this page). The front story of this article is all about how labels are socially, culturally and historically heavily constructed and can therefore – and I guess should – always be deconstructed through an ethnographic process. But the backstage story is actually very different and yet very related. It is more about the writing process which is itself so embodied in the construction – or the deconstruction – of the anthropological object. Continue reading


Exposing The Under-Exposed: family portraits on a mosque’ walls


There are many – many – things I remember from any ceremony I attended in O’Russei village, a.k.a one of my offices, a.k.a one of my fieldwork centres. The Eid El Fitr in autumn 2007 was no exception, and I have transcribed a few – very few – notes from it here. On that particular day though there was something beside the ritual itself that I remembered: an exhibition of simple family pictures on the walls of the village mosque.  Continue reading

In with the new, out with the old…

It is definitely about time to say good-bye to Du-Fin-Fond-Du-Grenier, the blog I started as a  doctorate candidate, centuries ago. And the blog – just like the academic plan – has  been getting dusty for years…  So now seems to be the right time for a spring cleaning, to start over. When closing a blog can be the opportunity to find pleasure to write again in an other one. A different one. A more personal one. A one that will stand here, whether academia is in the corner or not, but certainly joy in the corner: images and the words. Continue reading

The East West Center Cham Exhibition in Hawai’i


This gallery contains 44 photos.

In 2009-2010 I was offered a beautiful opportunity by the East West Center Arts Program (Honolulu, Hawai’i): contribute to the curation of an exhibition on Cham culture in Cambodia and Vietnam (thought this last part was provided by friend and fellow researcher … Continue reading

Inside a Cham Eid el Fitr

After the annual “doubt” moment, searching for a hiding moon, the word spread out on September 11: Ramadan would start on 13.09.07 this year, as it could be heard on TV and radio all through Cambodia in the Mufti Sos Kamry message.The occasion on this first eve for families in Chrok Romirt (Kompong Chhnang province) to light homes with candles. The opportunity for kids to run around, deliberating on the most beautiful illuminations. A few hours later, in the middle of the night, families would wake up for a last meal with the call from the mosque. A habit for a number of villagers whom, as blacksmiths, are used to nocturnal activities.



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Bits & Bites: Imam San’s Mawlid

The Mawlid, or annual celebration of the anniversary of the respected ‘saint’ Imam San, was performed by his followers on Monday 3rd September 2007, on the top of Udong Mount – a former khmer capital – where the Imam San founded his community by the 19th century.



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A la poursuite de l’inscription chame – Episode II

* First, you may want to check out Episode I.

So here I am, in Siem Reap… to work, as I’ll be giving a short talk on “Cambodian society” in situ, just minutes from now. But well, who said work and pleasure can’t be mixed??? I still have one more hour before the plane takes off, back to Phnom Penh. What the hell could I be doing in Siem Reap? Ideas? Well, one may come to mind… I take a look at my big fake luxury watch and run straight to the EFEO (Ecole Francaise D’Extreme Orient). I meet there with Christophe Pottier, an archaeologist, who is naturally much more speed than I am, even without the flight-hurry-schedule. And that’s a good thing because he goes straight to the point when I ask: ‘’ever heard of this mythical Cham inscription in Angkor Wat Chams so often talk about?’’


The Famous “Inscription Chame” itself… Nowadays located in the Conservation d’Angkor.

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A la poursuite de l’inscription chame – Episode I

Always enjoyed to see how history is played… Chams have all kind of myths to justify their ancestrality in Cambodia. One illustration of this ‘anteriority to khmers’ in the country is the idea that Chams would be the ones who indeed built Angkor Wat. Proof : the inscription in cham which is supposed to be found on the temple walls. Except… I never found it. Maybe it didn’t even exist I thought. So I forgot about it. But recently the EFEO (Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient) in Paris contacts a few people and luckily I am in the list: “we have a problem Phnom Penh”, “It is a weird, weird inscription found on the Angkor site not really readable since it is in cham from cambodia”. “Emiko, you are going to like it!”… and did I liked it… MIRACLE !!!! Here comes the inscription that I have always been hearing so much from, and that I have been so much searching for : the mythical cham inscription from Angkor Wat. So, today, I went to one of my ‘offices’: a village where elders are often able to read the script and complete the very light transcription I am able to make on my own… It was amazing (yet not so surprising) to see the enthusiasm of everyone after the Friday prayer: it was as heavy as the air around us. It was a real event and the discutions were endless. “This is too big, we have to work on it again, more… And this year, 2425 buddhist era (=1881), what does this mean since Angkor is … much more older ???”. Want to know more ? Follow me next week as I will be in Siem Reap for another episode of ”A la poursuite de l’inscription chame”!

To be continued… Episode II

Phnom Penh, February 11, 2013, Emiko Stock.

* Originally very informally shared with a couple of friends over my personal FB page, 08/08/09.

Those little field-notes are reminiscences of the past blogs and shares. While they are not proud of their flaws, I thought they shouldn’t be punished for it. Hopefully you will forgive them to be just as they come, just as they will remain.

Abstract: Inviting Champa, Welcoming Cambodia

Click here to find the French and English abstracts of the Udaya 2009 article “Parce que Champa et Cambodge ne faisaient qu’un…Lorsque les esprits s’emmêlent pour tisser la trame d’une histoire passée sur le métier d’une ‘intégration’ présente” (~Inviting Champa, Welcoming Cambodia: Performing Ancient Spirits to Commemorate Past History and Present Integration). 

Phnom Penh, February 10, 2013, Emiko Stock.

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