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Sharika Thiranagama

Sharika Thiranagama's profile photo

Sharika Thiranagama

President of the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, 2017-2020
Ph.D Edinburgh 2006
Research Interests: 
Ethnicity, Enslavement, Labor, Violence, Gender, Kinship, Caste, Displacement, History, Political Anthropology and Political Theory, Sri Lanka, India, South Asia

About

Sharika Thiranagama explores the intersection of political mobilization and domestic life. Her work focuses on highly fraught contexts of violence, inequality, and intense political mobilization, attempting to understand (rather than romanticize) patterns of sociality and how people actually live together, often in highly fractious and unequal ways, and, to situate these processes in specific historical formations of “privates” and “publics” in South Asia.

Her fieldwork in Sri Lanka on war and political violence, demonstrates how gendered and generational relations structured the experience of civil war. It explores the ways in which militancy, political violence and large-scale displacement became folded into intergenerational transmissions of memory and ethnic identification, arguing that the most profound effects of war and violence could only be understood through their impact on intimate and domestic life.

Since 2014, Sharika Thiranagama has also carried out new work in Kerala, South India including 10-11 months (June 2015-2016) of fieldwork in the rural Palakkad district, funded by I National Science Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation. This work centers on agricultural laborers from Dalit (formerly untouchable caste) communities in Kerala, South India. It examines how communist led political mobilization both transformed every day and political mobilization as well as reconfiguring older caste identities, re-entrenching caste inequities into new kinds of private neighborhood life. This work also takes the household as the prime site of the inheritance of work, stigma and servitude as well as the possibility of reproduction, dignity and social mobility. In addition, this new research explores comparative enslavement and the long legacies of the entwinement of caste and enslavement in Kerala.

 

Selected Articles

Recent Special Issues

2019 "Civility: Global Perspectives" co-edited with Tobias Kelly and Carlos Forment Anthropological Theory Volume 18 Issue 2-3:

2013 “Reconciliation, Popular Aspirations, and the State” Co-edited with Ozlem Biner. Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 4.1 (March)

Articles/Book chapters

2019 "Rural Civilities: Caste, Gender and Public Life in Kerala. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies42(2), pp.310-327

2019 “Respect Your Neighbor as Yourself: Neighbourliness, Caste, and Community in South India” Comparative Studies for Society and History, 61(2).

2018 “Introduction: Whose Civility?” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory Volume 18 Issue 2-3:

2018 “The Civility of Strangers? Caste, Ethnicity and Living Together in Postwar Jaffna, Sri Lanka” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory Volume 18 Issue 2-3:

2014 “Making Tigers from Tamils: Sri Lankan Tamils and Long Distance Nationalism in Toronto, Canada” American Anthropologist 116(2): 265-278

2014 “ Female Militancy: Reflections from Sri Lanka” in Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia, ed., Leela Fernandes. London: Routledge

2013 “The Self at a Time of War,” in special issue “The Self in South Asia,” ed. Nayanika Mookherjee, Journal for Historical Sociology 26 (1):19-40

2013 “Claiming the State: Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka,” in special Issue “Reconciliation, Popular Aspirations, and the State”, Thiranagama S and Biner O (eds). Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 4 (1): 93-116

2012 “Muslims, Ethnicity and Minority Identity in Sri Lanka,” in Religion and Politics in South Asia, ed. Christophe Jaffrelot and Amina Arif. Purushartha, Sciences Sociales en Asie du Sud. Paris: EHESS

2012 “‘A Railway to the Moon’: the Post-Histories of a Sri Lankan Railway Line,” Modern Asian Studies 46: 221-248. Cambridge University Press DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X1100063

2011. “Ethnic Entanglements: BBC Tamil and Sinhala services amidst the civil war in Sri Lanka”. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Vol 12 (2): 153-169.

2010 with Tobias Kelly "Spectres of Treason" in S. Thiranagama and T. Kelly (Eds) Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy and the Ethics of State-Building. University of Pennsylvania Press.

2010 "In Praise of Traitors: Intimacy, Betrayal and the Sri Lankan Tamil Community" in S. Thiranagama and T. Kelly (eds) Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy and the Ethics of State-Building. University of Pennsylvania Press.

2010. "Partitioning the BBC: From Colonial to Postcolonial Broadcaster" South Asian Diaspora 2 (1): 39-55.