By working together with those communities affected by the Khmer Rouge, Grant will ensure that the shape of the archive and the histories it represents are directed by those whose stories the archive tells.
Jenna Grant (Anthropology) recently received a $10,000 Public Engagement Seed Grant from the Whiting Foundation for her project, Archive Actions: Cambodians and Cambodian Americans Producing Ethnographic Histories. Grant will collaborate with Cambodians and Cambodian Americans in the Seattle area to design public events and a digital exhibit using a collection of photos and documents from the final weeks of the Khmer Rouge donated to the UW Libraries Special Collections by US photojournalist and UW alumna Elizabeth Becker. Not only will Archive Actions mark the activation of the Becker Archive, but it will model a process for the University to be accountable to relevant communities in the production and interpretation of historical archives. By working together with those communities affected by the Khmer Rouge, Grant will ensure that the shape of the archive and the histories it represents are directed by those whose stories the archive tells.
Archive Actions is an extension of Grant’s previous work with the Becker Archive. In December 2017, Grant, with the support of the Simpson Center, brought internationally-acclaimed Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh to UW. Alongside screenings of Panh’s 2013 film The Missing Picture, and First They Killed My Father (which Panh produced), Grant also collaborated, with Southeast Asia Studies Librarian Judith Henchy and Southeast Asia Studies MA student Adrian Alarilla, on a video installation utilizing materials from the Becker collection. Age of the Kampuchea Picture was an interactive video installation meant to embody Pol Pot's visions of Kampuchea by projecting a selection of Becker’s photographs onto a map of Kampuchea that was composed of facsimiles of Becker’s notes and official papers of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Grant is also a recipient of a 2019-2020 Society of Scholars fellowship. Her project, Fixing the Image: Medical Imaging in Phnom Penh, examines recent accounts of technology, images, and medicine by way of a detailed ethnography of medical imaging in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Playing with multiple senses of the term ‘fix’, Grant’s project explores practices of (self)definition, care, and repair of health, health systems, and the nation.
You can read more about Archive Actions here. Congratulations, Jenna!