As our everyday attention grows saturated by media reports of bloodshed, massacre, and atrocity, this moment in the twenty-first century presents us with challenges of literacy, epistemology, and ethical response. How can we resist consuming representations of mass and systemic violence as sensation and spectacle, and instead bear witness to the suffering of the disempowered? How do we dismantle forms of knowledge and affect that erase this pain or appropriate it into narratives designed to bolster dominant ideologies? And how might we create new epistemologies, new ways of feeling, that work toward repairing and averting such psychic and material ruptures?

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials’s War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work explores how Cambodian American writers and artists grapple with the difficult task of giving shape and texture to a history that is searing and almost ungraspable. When tragedy assumes a massive scale, numbers and...

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