My work on Amazon

  • Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones

    This is the most recent collection that I edited. It was an extremely challenging process as the editors were located in various parts of the globe and inordinately busy. If not for the perseverence of Wenona Giles, this book would never have seen the light of day.  I also have a brief article in this volume --"Reflections on Gender and Ethnicity in Sri Lanka"--  which tries to explore the disjuncture in feminist theorizations of gender and ethnicity.

  • Embodied Violence : Communalising Female Sexuality in South Asia
    by Kumari Jayawardena, Malathi de Alwis

    I edited this book while still a graduate student and it was an extremely productive learning experience for me. The help and advice I received from Kumari Jayawardena and Ritu Menon (one of the editors and founders of Kali for Women which originally published it in India) was invaluable. I also have a paper in this volume --"Sexuality in the Field of Vision"-- which analyses the various narratives, spanning several decades, that sought to make meaning of the famous frescoes at Sigiriya.

  • Sites of Violence : Gender and Conflict Zones

    I have an article in this volume --"The Purity of Displacement and the Reterritorialization of Longing: Muslim IDPs in Northwestern Sri Lanka"-- which seeks to illuminate how representations of territory and identity are produced within structures of power, how they are gendered, classed, and also universalized while simultaneously being reiterated and resisted.

  • Companion to the Anthropology of Politics (Blackwell Companions to Anthropology)

    My chapter on Feminism in this volume revisits the Strathernian formulation of an awkward relationship between anthropology and feminism. In seeking to address the vexed question of whether it is possible for an anthropologist to speak/write from within a domain of feminist politics, I consider my own struggles with the category of the 'political' and 'feminist politics' in my anthropological field research on a contemporary social movement that was not only the single largest women's protest movement of its time, but arguably one of the most effective in the modern history of Sri Lanka.

  • Haunting Violations: Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the

    My article in this volume, "The 'Language of the Organs': The Political Purchase of Tears in Contemporary Sri Lanka", seeks to unpack how Sinhala women's quotidian experiences and material practices are frequently maternalized and articulated upon and through the body of the mother, the epitome of suffering. My particular focus here is on tears, a signifier of suffering and grief which I argue not only evokes  popular sentiment but also legitimizes protest due to the naturalized, maternalized and traumatized body which is always already constructed as a site of the 'real' and 'authentic'.

  • Appropriating Gender: Women's Activism and Politicized Religion in South Asia (Zones of Religion)

    A South Asian edition of this volume is also available from Kali for Women, Delhi under the title, Resisting the Sacred and the Secular: Women's Activism and Politicized Religion in South Asia. My article, "Motherhood as a Space of Protest: Women's Political Participation in Contemporary Sri Lanka" seeks to reflect on the contingent efficacy of political protests that mobilize familiar and emotive discourses of maternalism within a predominantly patriarchal political landscape during a period in Sri Lankan history when most other rhetorics and practices of protest had been foreclosed.

  • Gender, Sexuality and Colonial Modernities (Routledge Research in Gender and History)

    My chapter in this volume, "'Respectability', 'Modernity' and the Policing of 'Culture' in Colonial Ceylon" engages with a 'gate keeping concept' in the anthropology of Sinhala society --lajja baya-- by considering how it was mobilized against Sinhala women to censor and control their quotidian lives. While primarily focusing  on Sinhala Buddhist nationalist discourses, enabled by the Anagarika Dharmapala, a product of mission education himself, I seek to illuminate how the object of such nationalist attacks, the anglicized, Christianized, bourgeois Sinhala woman, was produced out of conflicting and contradictory articulations of modernity and tradition, sensuality and submissiveness thus requiring her cultural re-inscription within modernity and patriarchy to be understood as not merely contested and unstable but as still in process.

  • The Women and War Reader

    My chapter in this volume, "Moral Mothers and Stalwart Sons: Reading Binaries in a Time of War" traces the contours of a particular ideological field that enables the production, dissemination and apprehension of gendered images and practices which reinforce rigid binaries of masculinized valour and feminized sacrifice. While it is imperative to interrogate the interpellation of such binaries, it is also important, I argue, to consider how such 'normalizations' are disrupted and countered.

  • Gender and Migration, Vol.2, Identities and Networks
    by Ilse Lenz, Helma Lutz, Mirjana Morokvasic

    This volume is a result of a wonderfully rewarding experiment, initiated by several European feminists, to establish an international women's university in conjunction with the World Exposition in Hanover, during the summer of 2000.  Many of us who taught under the topic of MIGRATION, along with a few of our students, are represented in this volume. My article which appears in the first section of the volume focusing on the re-drawing of boundaries through nationalisms, racisms and ethnicisms, analyses how gender articulates with the making of culture and nationhood through the transformation of the bourgeouis Sinhala woman into a pure and ahistorical signifier of interiority and tradition during the 'long conversation' between British colonialism and Sinhala nationalism.

  • Women in Post-Independence Sri Lanka

    The chapter in this volume I co-authored with Kumari Jayawardena,  "The Contingent Politics of the Women's Movement in Sri Lanka after Independence",  explores the politically contingent ways in which different women's groups have protested and struggled against particular political, economic and cultural strictures and situations that they have faced during different historical moments.
  • The Aftermath: Women in Post-Conflict Transformation

    My chapter in this volume, "Ambivalent Maternalisms: Cursing as Public Protest in Sri Lanka" focuses on an especially spectacular public practice of the Mothers' Front, a grassroots women's organization in southern Sri Lanka, that not only created a space within which women could articulate their criticisms of a repressive state but also made fraught any quick and simple categorisation of these women either as victimised or idealised mothers.