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New book – ‘Sri Lanka: The Struggle for Peace in the Aftermath of War’

January 10, 2017

Please see the following message from Daniel Bass which may be of interest to network members.

I am proud to announce the publication of Sri Lanka: The Struggle for Peace in the Aftermath of War, edited by Amarnath Amarasingham and myself, and featuring contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of scholars from South Asia, Europe and North America. The paperback is now available from Hurst in the UK ( or Oxford University Press in the US (

Even though Sri Lanka’s protracted civil war came to a bloody conclusion in May 2009, prospects for a sustainable peace remain uncertain. The Sri Lankan army is no longer waging military campaigns and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are no longer carrying out political assassinations and suicide attacks, yet structural violence continues, and has arguably intensified since the war’s end. Anti-Tamil discrimination, anti-Muslim violence, and Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism all increased in the war’s aftermath, as President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government invoked its military victory over the LTTE to silence any opposition. The election of Maithripala Sirisena as president in January 2015 began to alleviate some of the worst of these post-war abuses of power, but many long-term problems will take longer to solve.
This book brings together scholars in the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, law, religious studies and diaspora studies to critically engage issues such as post-war development, constitutional reform, ethnic and religious identity, transnational activism, and transitional justice. Through an interdisciplinary approach to post-war Sri Lanka, this volume examines the intractable and complex issues that continue to plague this war-torn island.
Daniel Bass
Manager, South Asia Program, Cornell University
Treasurer, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies

‘Hinduism Today’ article on Tamil Saivism in London

November 16, 2016

This article is from a while back as it was sent to me while I was in maternity leave. I helped the authors (Ramai and Vatshalan Santhirapala) a little bit with background information and they have given their permission to share the article. The ‘tube map’ of London temples is rather nice.


Article by network member Giuseppe Burgio – ‘When Interculturality faces a Diaspora. The Transnational Tamil Identity’

November 7, 2016
Here is a new article (in English) by network member, Giuseppe Burgio of the University of Enna “Kore”, Italy.
2016: ‘When Interculturality faces a Diaspora. The Transnational Tamil Identity’, Encylopaideia. XX(44): 106-128
Abstract: The Sri Lankan Tamils of the diaspora are a model of a transnational identity.
From the theoretical point of view, Tamil identity challenges our mental habits and intercultural theory. If the Tamil diaspora tend to be distinguished both from the motherland and from Western, multicultural societies, then interculturality ceases to indicate a relationship between two poles, but becomes a three-pole connection, which includes the country of origin, the country of destination, and the diasporic community. The consciousness of these diasporic dynamics forces us to re-think our theoretical framework about interculturality, going beyond our actual approach based on nationally-defined concepts of society and culture. Overall, diasporas can be an excellent observation field of all transnational dynamics and through diasporas we can learn not concentrating on the migrants / residents dichotomy but focusing on people, their movements crossing national boundaries, and their specific needs.

BBC documentary: ‘A Tale of Five Temples’

November 4, 2016

A recent BBC1 documentary – ‘A Tale of Five Temples – The Story of Hinduism in Britain’ – features a section looking at the story of Tamil migration to Britain and Tamil Hindu tradition, alongside segments on other ethno-linguistic communities within Hinduism.

The programme makers interviewed network members Demelza Jones (Aston University) and Ann David (University of Roehampton) who are both briefly featured. The documetary aired last Sunday, but is available for about a month (to UK-based viewers) on the BBC I-Player.

NB. I am now back to work from maternity leave and hope to start updating this blog regularly again. If anyone has any news (e.g. new publications, conference calls, opportunities for collaboration etc.) please email them to me (Demelza) at

Maternity cover for blog admin

July 20, 2015

Would anyone who is currently a member of this network be able/willing to look after and keep this blog updated during the 2015/16 academic year while I (Demelza) am on maternity leave?

This is not a big task. It would simply involve having your institutional email address available on the site so that members can email you with any news, publications etc. they would like published to the network. You would then post this info on the blog (I can give you admin rights). If you have not used WordPress before it is very straightforward and intuitive – you simply type into a box.

If you are interested, please email me before the 31st July at

Thank you!

Recent publications

June 22, 2015

The following recently published articles may be of interest to network members:

Beiser, M., Goodwill, A. M., Albanese, P., McShane, K., & Kanthasamy, P. (2015). Predictors of the integration of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Canada: pre-migration adversity, mental health, personal attributes, and post-migration experience. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 11(1), 29-44.

Jones, D. (2015). Being Tamil, being Hindu: Tamil migrants’ negotiations of the absence of Tamil Hindu spaces in the West Midlands and South West of England. Religion, (ahead-of-print), 1-22.

Labelle, A. (2015) Mobilisation diasporique sur le cyberespace: une approche ‘transnationale’. Table des matières, 40. (in French)

O’Neill, T. (2015). In the path of heroes: second-generation Tamil-Canadians after the LTTE. Identities, 22(1), 124-139.

Somalingam, T. (2015). “Doing-ethnicity”–Tamil educational organizations as socio-cultural and political actors. Transnational Social Review, (ahead-of-print), 1-13.

Walton, O. (2015). Framing disputes and organizational legitimation: UK-based Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups’ use of the ‘genocide’frame since 2009.Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(6), 959-975.

New chapter on Tamil diaspora(s) in Britain by Demelza Jones

April 20, 2015

I have recently published a new chapter drawing on my doctoral research with Tamil migrants in Britain.

The chapter –  ‘Identifications with an ‘aesthetic’ and ‘moral’ diaspora amongst Tamils of diverse state origins in Britain’’ – employs Pnina Werbner’s notion of diasporas as moral communities of suffering and co-responsibility, as well as aesthetic communities of shared transnational consumption of culture and performance of ritual, and relates this to the case of Tamil migrants of diverse state origins in Britain. Sri Lankan Tamil migrants I interviewed towards my research imagine membership of a Tamil diaspora as based on personal (or familial) experiences of suffering in the Sri Lankan civil war, which acts both to create bonds with other Sri Lankan Tamils, and to distinguish from Tamils of other state origins (Indian, Singaporean etc.) despite cultural commonalities (Werbner’s aesthetic diaspora). Conversely, many of the non-Sri Lankan Tamil migrants I interviewed imagined these boundaries in more flexible terms, and claimed membership of the ‘community of suffering’ in ways which did not necessitate personal experience, but rather privileged symbolic constructions of the ethnic community, and an interpretation of historical and current events in India, Sri Lanka (and other sites of Tamil population) as components of a single narrative of Tamil victimhood.

The chapter appears in Dismantling Diasporas: Rethinking the Geographies of Diasporic Identity, Connection and Development, edited by Elizabeth Mavroudi and Anastasia Christou and published by Ashgate.