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Nethra Samarawickrema

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Nethra Samarawickrema

Dissertation Writer
Research Interests: 
Indian Ocean Trade, gold and gem trading networks, trust and risk, credit and debt, transnational capital flows, Sri Lanka, South India, Hong Kong and Singapore


Nethra Samarawickrema is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests focus on contemporary trade and capital flows in the Indian Ocean, particularly how commerce is constituted through concerns about trust and risk, credit and debt, and moral economies connected to traders’ kinship and religious obligations. She is currently conducting dissertation fieldwork on Sri Lankan gold and gem trading families and their local and transnational commercial relations. By examining their commercial exchanges with local miners, suppliers, and goldsmiths, her research attends to how they conceptualize trust, manage credit and debt, and trade across ethnic, religious, class and caste lines. By tracing the intergenerational trading ties between Sri Lankan traders and their Indian partners based in South India, Hong Kong, and Singapore, she aims to understand their commercial relations through frames wider than the nation and situate them in historically contingent transnational networks in the Indian Ocean. Prior to her doctoral studies, Nethra obtained a B.A in Politics from Ithaca College and an M.A. in Anthropology from Dalhousie University, where her thesis focused on heritage management and gentrification in Galle Fort, a colonial walled town in Southern Sri Lanka.