Devaka Gunawardena, UCLA
Left perspectives of the Sri Lankan conflict
My paper sketches a contrast between two concepts of ethnicity in the Sri Lankan governments of the United Front (1970-77) and the People's Alliance (1994-2001). In particular, it examines the way in which the category of ethnicity was redeployed by Left theorists associated with these specific regimes. The paper looks at several key texts of each period in order to identify the major positions. It finds that whereas in the United Front ethnicity was reduced to class, in the People's Alliance ethnicity was operationalized as an autonomous variable of research and policy making. The overall goal of this paper is to understand the underlying debate among Leftists as part of the constitution of a local Sri Lankan archive of political thought. This archive is linked as well to global discussions of Marxism and the national question.
Ben Pasquale, NYU
The Social Legacies of Civil War in Eastern Sri Lanka
What are the social legacies of exposure to war-time violence on civilians in eastern Sri Lanka? While much research has focused on the causes of participation in armed groups or conflict exposure, relative little systematic evidence has analyzed post-war trajectories, particularly in areas exposed to high levels of war-time violence. To measure the impact of exposure to violence on local social cohesion, I pair villages that were exposed to violence between the LTTE and Colonel Karuna's TMVP using an original newspaper dataset of conflict events from 2004 to 2008. In approximately 40 villages affected by such events as well as a comparable set of 40 villages that were not affected in this period I will complete a household-survey and an embedded behavioral experiment in order to measure social cooperation. I plan to complete a pilot of the described survey and embedded experiment in January 2013 with the help of Social Indicators, the survey wing of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (based in Colombo).
Nalika Gajaweera, UC Irvine
Buddhism without Borders?: Dana, Humanitarianism and NGO work in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka
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