Date of Completion


Embargo Period



film, genocide, Cambodia, narrative, stories, education, pedaogy

Major Advisor

Dr. Christine Sylvester

Associate Advisor

Dr. Cathy Schlund-Vials

Associate Advisor

Dr. Fred Lee

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The political world is inhabited by storytellers of all kinds, including politicians, journalists, scholars, lawyers, teachers, activists, and artists. In International Relations (IR), post-conflict reconciliation is an area in which we frequently recognize the power of stories, especially in the aftermath of mass atrocities, including but not limited to genocide. This project argues that genocide film narrative is of interest to IR scholars because it is internationally accessible and has the potential to facilitate ‘pinching politics,’ encouraging audiences to recognize the political interconnectedness of people across divisions of space and time. Narrative (stories), especially film narrative, is an important way that people can learn about the experience of genocide in the context of global politics. This educational role is important not just a representation of the political world; it is also potentially agentic in the political world because political narratives can wield political power. This research implements an interpretivist arts-based methodology in the analysis of a seven-year ethnographic case study of the Cambodia Town Film Festival (CTFF), a Long Beach, California international film festival created by and for Cambodian genocide survivors and their descendants. It forwards an ontology and pedagogy of genocide film based on the films screened and the ‘story-telling as practice’ demonstrated by the CTFF filmmakers and film festival organizers.

Available for download on Monday, April 22, 2030