This book examines postwar waves of political violence that affected six Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam – from the wars of independence in the mid-twentieth century to the recent Rohingya genocide.

Featuring cases not previously explored, and offering fresh insights into more familiar cases, the chapters cover a range of topics including the technologies of violence, the politics of fear, inclusion and exclusion, justice and ethics, repetitions of mass violence events, impunity, law, ethnic and racial killings, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The book delves into the violence that has reverberated across the region spurred by local and global politics and ideologies, through the examination of such themes as identity ascription and formation, existential and ontological questions, collective memories of violence, and social and political transformation. In our current era of global social and political transition, the volume’s case studies provide an opportunity to consider potential repercussions and outcomes of various political and ideological positionings and policies.

Enhancing our understanding of the technologies, techniques, motives, causes, consequences, and connections between violent episodes in the Southeast Asian cases, the book raises key questions for the study of mass violence worldwide. 

chapter |18 pages


ByBen Kiernan, Eve Monique Zucker

part 1|37 pages

Dimensions of Mass Violence

chapter 1|21 pages

A time to kill

21The anti-communist violence in Indonesia, 1965–66 1
ByGeoffrey Robinson

chapter 2|15 pages


Valences of mass violence in Myanmar
ByElliott Prasse-Freeman, Andrew Ong

part 2|59 pages

The Politics of Fear

chapter 3|23 pages

Performative violence and Philippine populism

ByAlfred W. McCoy

chapter 4|21 pages

The political organization of genocide

Central orders and regional implementation under the Khmer Rouge
ByWilliam Kwok

chapter 5|14 pages

Mass violence against the Rohingya

Strategic and ideological drivers of ethnic cleansing
ByMayesha Alam

part 3|46 pages

Minorities and the State

chapter 6|18 pages

The crucible of D̵iỆn Biên PhỦ

117Making Vietnam in the First Indochina War
ByChristian C. Lentz

chapter 8|13 pages

The genocide of Rohingyas in Burma

ByAzeem Ibrahim

part 4|27 pages

Technologies, Techniques, and Ideologies

chapter 9|12 pages

The air war in Vietnam

163Responses to the machinery of mass violence
BySophie Quinn-Judge

chapter 10|14 pages

Medical experiments, blood, and gall

Revolutionary utilization of the body in Khmer Rouge prisons
ByDaniel Bultmann

part 5|63 pages

Justice, Ethics, and History

chapter 11|20 pages

Assessing genocidal intent in the context of Myanmar’s Rohingya

ByKatherine E. Munyan

chapter 12|13 pages

Justice after dictatorship in Thailand

ByTyrell Haberkorn

chapter 13|12 pages

Investigating genocide

Rithy Panh’s S-21 (2004)
ByPhirum Laurence Gaillard

part 6|48 pages

The Shadow of the Past on the Present

chapter 16|14 pages

Something in the water

Toward a symbolic history of otherness in Chrouy Changvar, Cambodia
ByNgoc Tram Luong

chapter 17|17 pages

Mass violence and mob violence in Cambodia

Responses and social repair – Hope for the future?
ByLaura McGrew