Abiding by Sri Lanka. On Peace, Place, and Postcoloniality by Qadri Ismail

By Qadri Ismail

The loss of peace in Sri Lanka is usually portrayed because of a violent, ethnonationalist clash among the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. considered during this gentle, answer might be attained via clash administration. yet, as Qadri Ismail unearths, this is often too simplistic an knowing and can't produce lasting peace. 

Abiding by way of Sri Lanka examines how the disciplines of anthropology, heritage, and literature deal with the Sri Lankan ethnic clash. Anthropology, Ismail contends, methods Sri Lanka as an item from an “outside” and western standpoint. background, addressing the clash from the “inside,” abides by means of where and so promotes switch that's nationalist and particular. Neither of those fields imagines an inclusive neighborhood. Literature, Ismail argues, can. 

With shut readings of texts that “abide” through Sri Lanka, texts that experience a dedication to it, Ismail demonstrates that the issues in Sri Lanka increase primary issues for us all concerning the dating among democracies and minorities. spotting the structural in addition to political trends of consultant democracies to suppress minorities, Ismail rethinks democracy through redefining the concept that of the minority viewpoint, no longer as a subject-position of numerical insignificance, yet as a conceptual house that opens up the prospect for contrast with out domination and, eventually, peace. 

Qadri Ismail is affiliate professor of English on the collage of Minnesota. He has additionally been a journalist in Sri Lanka.

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Additional resources for Abiding by Sri Lanka. On Peace, Place, and Postcoloniality

Example text

However, Geertz does not take that step; once an interpretation is understood, as it is by Geertz, as an interpretation of an objectively existing entity, it follows that the two can be compared with each other, and with other interpretations—and some found to be better analogies, or interpretations, or interpretations of interpretations. This, of course, makes the claim that ethnographies are, by Geertz’s criteria, incomplete and contestable, impossible to sustain. Those that take us to the “heart” of the culture being studied must surely be considered, by this logic, if not less incomplete, certainly less contestable.

Nevertheless, he too insists that his arguments are historical and a disciplinary refutation of the Sinhalese nationalist account of Sri Lanka, a correct account of the facts, rather than determined by the ethical level. If the story of Sri Lanka implies that the Sinhalese and Tamils will inevitably separate, that is because history itself suggests this. Several questions arise as a consequence of this difference. Most important, how does the reader evaluate the rival and quite incompatible claims advanced by both histories?

Equally important, another reader, if unpersuaded— or even if intrigued— by a particular reading of a text can always refer to the written in order to be persuaded or, if not, to produce a different reading of the text. Such an object, of course, is not available to anthropology, which in this understanding has to deal with “transient” things. But, in the last analysis, it still deals with things, objects. For an interpretation is always an interpretation of something, an object. As the OED might remind one here, to interpret is “to expound the meaning of something abstruse .

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