Sri Lanka, the ‘Teardrop Isle’, has been under international attention for more than two decades for its ethnic conflict and civil war, and recently, under intense media scrutiny for what seems like a decisive end to the civil war. While the ethnic conflict and the civil war have been the subject of numerous academic and non-academic studies in both the East and the West, there has been no significant research on nationalism, particularly Tamil nationalism, as it manifests itself in Sri Lanka.
Pathways of Dissent: Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka endeavors to fill this important academic gap through its collection of ten in-depth essays that present a wide perspective of the subject. The book holistically portrays Tamil nationalism from various disciplinary perspectives like history, political science, international relations, art, literature, sociology, and anthropology. In doing so, it tries to understand the nature of nationalism as it emerges in these areas and adds to the richness and complexity of the problematic.
The significance of this collection is not only its breadth of vision, but also the origins of the hypotheses. The essays cite primary sources from Tamil society and culture that are not usually referred to. It is the first multi-disciplinary collection of essays exploring the state of Sri Lankan Tamils and their nationalistic moorings. The book succeeds in adding further scholarship to the academic debate centered on nationalism, politics, sociology and ethnic conflicts. Academics and readers with a focus on ethnic conflicts, peace studies, nationalism, Tamil politics and society and South Asian history will find the book to be an essential reference source.
Chapter Four: Configuring Spaces and Constructing Nations in Sri Lankan Tamil Literature
Configuring Spaces and Constructing Nations in Sri Lankan Tamil Literature
Nationalism of any kind in contemporary times, whether it appears in Europe, Africa or Asia, raises a number of complex questions, and the situation in Sri Lanka, as it relates to the Tamils, is no exception. It bears a striking resemblance to what goes on elsewhere, but also remains quite distinctive in its social and political manifestations. The focus of this paper is quite narrow and specific in that it relates to the role and function of contemporary Tamil literature in constructing, maintaining and legitimizing nationalist sentiments among Tamils, both within the country and in the diaspora.1
While there is a general agreement about the direct relation ...