susan needham

Susan Needham

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Anthropology


(310) 243-3485


Ph.D. 1996 University of California, Los Angeles (Linguistic Anthropology)
M.A. 1992 University California, Los Angeles (Linguistic Anthropology)
B.A. 1989 cum laude California State University, Long Beach (Anthropology)


ANT 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANT 310 Culture and Personality: Psychological Anthropology
ANT 312 Language and Culture
ANT 315 Magic and Religion
ANT 338 Comparative Cultures: Mainland Southeast Asia
ANT 341 Folklore
ANT 375. Ethnographic Methods and Techniques


Interactional sociolinguistics
language and socialization
social cognition, learning, and identity
literacy and education
mainland Southeast Asia


Cambodian American History Working Group, 2018. Collaboration between the UCI Southeast Asian Archive, Long Beach Mark Twain Branch Library, and CamCHAP. The purpose is to identify, support, and make Cambodian history accessible to a wider audience.
Cambodia Town Culture Festival, 2009 - 2014, held in Long Beach, CA. The Exhibition is the class project for ANT 375, Ethnographic Field Methods. Students conduct original research with members of the Cambodian community of Long Beach, document their cultural practices, prepare educational texts displayed at the festival, and assist the exhibitor the day of the event.
Co-Director, Cambodian Community History & Archive Project (CamCHAP). A community-based research and learning center created in 2008 in collaboration with Dr. Karen Quintiliani, CSULB, and the Historical Society of Long Beach.
Long Beach Cambodian Community Digital Ethnography This is a multilingual, multimedia website presenting a historical ethnography of the Cambodians in Long Beach. Through photographs, historical documents, audio recordings, and video clips, this website situates the community’s growth within a particular historical moment at international, national, and local levels. The website launched in April 2011.
Survivor/Perpetrator Videoconference, October 2010. Community Liaison and Researcher; worked with a multinational team to help facilitate a historic videoconference during which Cambodian American Survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Long Beach, CA. spoke with former Khmer Rouge Soldiers, in Bangkok. The videoconference grew out of a research project begun by Thet Sambat, reporter for the Phnom Penh Post. Thet’s story was made into the award winning documentary “Enemies of the People,” produced and directed by British documentary filmmaker, Rob Lemkin.
California Folk Arts Festival, 2001-2004, in conjunction with the CSUDH Unity Fest. The festival is the class project for ANT 341, Folklore. Involves securing grant monies, supervising a folklore fieldworker and coordinating the activities of students in ANT 341, Folklore, who interview cultural artisans, document their craft, and then assist them in presenting their lore during the CSUDH Unity Fest.
New England Folklife Center, Lowell, Massachusetts: Fieldworker and Program Coordinator May 1996-August 1997. Identified and coordinated craftspeople and ethnic cooks for 10th and 11thannual Lowell Folk Festival. As program coordinator I developed educational programs and materials for students and teachers on the lifeways of local ethnic communities. Assisted in installing gallery exhibitions and creating exhibition text. Ethnic communities contacted included Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Greek, Irish, Taino, Franco-American, Armenian, Tibetan, Portuguese, Abenaki, Italian, Puerto Rican.
Cambodian Holocaust Video Project: Conducted oral history interviews with two survivors of the Pol Pot regime as part of a pilot project leading to the development of a Holocaust museum through the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Videotaped interviews are archived at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
Cambodian Oral History Project, California State University, Long Beach. Conducted oral history interviews with Cambodian refugees. Tapes are archived at CSULB.



Digital Ethnography of the Cambodian Community in Long Beach, California: This is a multilingual, multimedia website presenting a historical ethnography of the Cambodians in Long Beach. Through photographs, historical documents, audio recordings, and video clips, this website situates the community’s growth within a particular historical moment at international, national, and local levels.


2017"Rethinking Local History through Collaboration: The Creation of the Cambodian Community History and Archive Project." 1st author with Dr. Karen Quintiliani (CSULB). Special issue of Collaborative Anthropologies 8:1-2, 1-20, Fall-Spring 2015-16.
2015The Space of Sorrow: a historic video dialogue between survivors and perpetrators of the Cambodian killing fields. 1st author with Dr. Karen Quintiliani (CSULB), and Rob Lemkin (Oldstreet Films). The International Journal of Human Rights, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp. 628-647.
2015Cambodian-American Ritual Practices in Long Beach, California. IN Jonathan H. X. Lee, ed. Southeast Asian Diaspora in the United States: Memories & Visions, Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow. London and New York: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
2014Three Decades of Cambodian American Political Activism in Long Beach, California. 2ndauthor with Dr. Karen Quintiliani (CSULB). IN The Age of Asian Migration: Continuity, Diversity, and Susceptibility (Vol. I). Eds, Chan, Y.W., Haines, D., and Lee, J.H.X.Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
2011Facilitating Dialogue between Cambodian American Survivors and Khmer Rouge Perpetrators. 2nd author with Dr. Karen Quintiliani (CSULB), documentary film maker, Robert Lemkin, and Cambodian journalist, Thet Sambath. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 23:4, 506-513,Dec 5, 2011.
2010Reports from the Edge: Cambodian American College Students’ Narratives of Experience.IN Cambodian American Experiences: Histories, Communities, Cultures and Identities. Jonathan Lee, ed. Kendall Hunt Publishing
2008Cambodians in Long Beach. Co-Authored with Dr. Karen Quintiliani, Associate Professor, Anthropology, CSU Long Beach. Arcadia Publishing.
2008Cambodian Americans. IN the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. Richard Schaefer, ed. Sage Publications.
2007Cambodians in Long Beach, California: The Making of a Community. Co-authored with Karen Quintiliani, CSU Long Beach. IN The Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 5(1):29-53.
2003“This is Active Learning:” Theories of Language, Learning, and Social Relations in the Transmission of Khmer Literacy. IN Anthropology & Education Quarterly 33(1):27-49.
2001“How can you be Cambodian if you don’t speak Khmer?” Language, Literacy, and Education in a Cambodian “Rhetoric of Distinction.” IN Negotiating Transnationalism: Selected Papers on Refugees and Immigrants, Volume IX, 2001. This is a peer review edited volume of the Committee on Refugee and Immigrant Issues, a sub-committee of the American Anthropological Association
1994Khmer Literacy Learning and Instruction in the Cambodian Community of Long Beach, California. IN Papers from the Second Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 1992. Karen L. Adams and Thomas John Hudak, eds. Pp. 427-440. Tempe: Arizona State University.