2012 Student-Faculty Program: College Of Charleston

“Savages, Victims, Saviors and Their Engagement in Neoliberal Processes”

Mentor: Helen Delfeld, Political Science Department
Students: Elizabeth Figliola, ’13, Susannah Hicks, ’12, Lua Parsi, ’12, Tara Schiraldi, ’12, Liza Wood, ’13


The College of Charleston research team bases its analysis on the discourse of human rights identified by Makau Mutua which is focused on the interplay between what he terms savages, their victims, and their saviors. Their study will focus on the One Tambon One Product project in Thailand in which the Thai government takes an active role in seeking Thai solutions for human rights abuses, and then on the international NGO activist community and the increasing engagement of the tourist industry in human rights concerns in Cambodia which relies upon international funding and support to confront human rights abuses. Student researchers will examine different issues related to this topic: grief tourism or thanatourism sites such as Phnom Penh’s Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Figliola); the rehabilitation of women forced into the sex trade in Thailand and Cambodia (Hicks); the impact of tourist visits on Thai and Cambodian orphanages (Parsi); the influence of international support for women’s advocacy groups in these two countries (Schiraldi); and the impact of tourism and Western agricultural innovations on traditional agriculture (Wood).