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Sri Lanka in the Modern Age recounts the modern history of the island in an accessible yet unconventional manner. Where other histories have tended to focus on the state's failure to accommodate the needs and demands of minority communities, Wickramasinghe places their claims alongside the political, social and economic demands of other communities, parties, associations and groups, tracing their lineages to the colonial period. This updated second edition carries the book into the present, covering the brutal end of Sri Lanka's civil war and the making of oppressive stability that has grown in its wake. Drawing on recent work as well as on her own research in the field, Wickramasinghe has written above all a history of the people of Sri Lanka rather than a history of the nation-state.
Nira Wickramasinghe is Professor and Chair of Modern South Asian Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her most recent books are Metallic Modern: Everyday Machines in Colonial Sri Lanka and L'invention du vetement national au Sri Lanka: Habiller le corps colonise .
Preface: Identities and Histories PART I: PRE-INDEPENDENCE YEARS: CHANGING LIVES 1. Colonial Encounters Conquest and sovereignties Conditions of differentiation; new identities The British colonial state New landscapes: the plantation 2. Colonialism and Constructed Identities Counting and classifying: the census mode of knowledge Constructing political identities: Kandyans and Ceylon Tamils Colonial constructs of authenticity and gender differences Evading colonial divides 3. National Framings: Authentic Bodies and Things Spreading notions of authenticity: schools, reading, newspapers, theatre and new religious practices Images of an authentic past Authenticity in the present: dressing and caring for the authentic body 4. Before Independence: Communities and Conflicts Symbolic struggles: riots and clashes in pre-independence Ceylon The vote and anti-migrant moves Politics of violence: migrants during the Depression 4 February 1948: Independence PART II: THE POST-INDEPENDENCE YEARS: POLITICAL CULTURES 5. Citizens, Communities, Rights, Constitutions, 19472000 Unmaking citizens The Donoughmore Commission: origins and purity as the basis of rights The Soulbury Report The Soulbury Report, Indian citizenship and franchise The 19489 Indian Citizenship Acts Other Citizenship Acts More rights and less representation: women as citizens Legal and constitutional protection of women Making a majority, 194887 From Draft Constitution 2000 to open-ended peace Constitutional responses 6. The Search for Equality: The Left Movement and Insurrections A combatant's itinerary The left in Sri Lanka The left movement: origins The war years Post-war social unrestthe 19467 strikes The decline of the traditional left, 195070 Disunity of the left Electoral politics: the challenge of the SLFP Dilution of the left: coalition politics Policies of the left: from class to sectarianism The rise of the Radical Left, 196570 The rise of the New Left, 197090: political violence 7. The Search for Sovereignty: Tamil Separatism/Nationalism Being Tamil: multiple modes Pan-Tamilness: 'a great Tamil-speaking world of goodness' Being Tamil: history and past Regional modes of being Tamil Being Tamil: diasporic ways Land, language, education: the quest for Tamil rights 1950s60s Counternarratives: temple entry, caste, class Elite politics and caste Insurrection: 1970s1983 War of attrition: from the 1983 riots to 2001 The spirit of Tamilness 8. Sri Lanka: The Welfare State and Beyond Lineages of the past: peasant welfare and welfare measures From welfare state to humanitarianism Neo-welfarism: the humanitarian thrust Alternatives: the rise of civil society Postcolonial dilemmas: between globalisation and traditions 9. 'Only A Great Land Wounded': The End of the War Mahinda Rajapaksa's ascendance to power Military campaigns in the Eastern Province The 'Peace with War' strategy in the Northern Province in 2008 Insecurity and insurgent violence in 2008 The final battle, 2009 Human rights, NGOs and the shift in international norms Electoral gains and the consolidation of the regime Afterlives Conclusion 10. The Post-War State: The Making of Oppressive Stability Consolidation of power 18th Amendment Creating a patronage state Rajapaksa and family politics Militarisation and gentrification: space as politics Producing the present: patriotism and cultural heritage Vying for popular appeal: merging of history and heritage in Popular Culture Contest over place/sites and practices Heritage and violence Through the interstices: social solidarities and the possibility of protest