Podcast: Farming Shaped the Rise and Fall of Empires in Cambodia

Beneath the country’s troubled history with the Khmer Rouge lies a complex agricultural legacy that reaches back centuries

Pre Rup Temple rises in the distance as a worker fills a cart during the rice harvest in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. (BODY Philippe/Hemis/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

In this episode of the Generation Anthropocene podcast, scientists and students explore the ways a prolonged El Niño brought drought and increased conflict to Cambodia, and how the ruthless Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge looked back to the temples at Angkor Wat and their proud agricultural heritage to motivate the atrocities of the Cambodian genocide.

Producer Miles Traer speaks with mental health and water science experts to see how hundreds of years of agriculture have shaped the region. Traer shares his own thoughts on the relationship between food and conflict, and how he sees the standard historical narrative breaking down within Cambodia's borders.

Related podcasts by Generation Anthropocene:

Why Sky Burials Are Vanishing in Mongolia

How a Farming Project in Brazil Turned Into a Social and Ecological Tragedy

How Will We Feed 9 Billion People on Earth of the Future?

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