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The Cambodian Community History & Archive Project (CamCHAP) is a collaboration between California State University Dominguez Hills, California State University Long Beach, and the Historical Society of Long Beach. The founders and co-authors of the website are linguistic anthropologist, Dr. Susan Needham, and applied cultural anthropologist, Dr. Karen Quintiliani. We have each conducted research and worked in the Long Beach Cambodian Community since 1988. We started collaborating on a history of the community in 2002. Through our ethnographic, linguistic and applied research, we have been able to bring together multiple perspectives on the social, cultural, political and economic changes shaping the Cambodian experience, the City of Long Beach, and the fabric of American society in the wake of Southeast Asian refugee resettlement. Since Cambodians have drawn upon a 2000 year history to express and define what it means to be Khmer in America, we seek to understand how people differ in their experiences, struggles and interpretations of events and symbols. We therefore do not isolate people or events; instead we are interested in how people (Cambodian and non-Cambodian) vary in their experiences, struggles, and interpretations of each other. We are also interested in how people share beliefs and why certain aspects of culture are emphasized. We view the practice of culture as fluid and contingent. This is how anthropologists attempt to see the world – as multi-layered and shifting based upon social constructions of race, class, gender, nationality, and sexuality each of which bear upon how we experience our lives and each other.

The CamCHAP website presents a digital ethnography (living cultural history) of the Long Beach Cambodian community through narratives, photographs and short video documentaries. The CamCHAP website also provides information on the materials available in the physical archive located at the Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB). Community members, scholars, and students have access to these materials on an appointment basis. Visit the HSLB website for details:

CamCHAP was formed in 2008 in order to:

  • Ensure Cambodian history in Long Beach is documented and preserved.
  • Create a community-based research and learning center which is accessible to community members, educators, and researchers.
  • Provide students with educational opportunities at a community research site.






This project is made possible, in part, by grants from:


The Long Beach Community Foundation strategic grant-making program which aims to address critical, new and emerging needs in Long Beach. Their generous support made it possible for the Cambodian story to become a part of Long Beach's rich and diverse history.


California Council for the Humanities in partnership with the Skirball Foundation, through the jointly supported California Documentary Project, a program of the California Stories Initiative. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit


Stone & Compass is an educational and cultural retreat located in Bulgaria with multiple global outreach programs aimed at encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to create cultural understandings through contact with each other. We are a company founded on the principle that everyone is human first. Our goal is to connect, educate and inspire.





Project Directors


Susan Needham, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, CSU Dominguez Hills

Karen Quintiliani, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Anthropology, CSU Long Beach

Project Staff


Julie Bartolotto, Executive Director, Historical Society of LB


Amy Ovando, Project Assistant

Kassandra Chhay, Student Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB

Violet Paley, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB


Websight Design

Phylypo Tum, Web Designer

Virak Seng, Web Designer & Programmer


Former Student Assistants


Joseph Bolinger, Videographer, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology CSULB

Sarah Cote, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology CSULB

Brian Delas Armas, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB

Elsie Heredia, Student Assistant, Anthropology, CSUDH

Letticia Montoya, Project Assistant

Adam Neilson, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB

Diana Ochoa, Student Assistant, Anthropology, CSUDH

Prumsodun Ok, Videographer

David Rapport, Student Assistant, Liberal Studies, CSUDH

Alexxandra Salazar, Student Assistant, Anthropology, CSUDH

Katie Stahl-Kovell, Student Assistant, Anthropology and Dance, CSUDH

Adriana Vigil, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB

Julia Wignall, Graduate Assistant, Anthropology, CSULB