Spatialising Politics: Culture and Geography in Postcolonial Sri Lanka brings together essays on the theme of spatial politics of Sri Lanka. Space is an important factor in the ongoing ethnic conflict fuelling Sri Lanka's continuing civil war. Claims and contestations over the integrity of island space and the control of northern and eastern territories are central to the violently contested dispute. The editors view space from a different perspective. They argue that space is important through a number of registers less frequently invoked in dominant approaches to understanding postcolonial Sri Lankan nationhood, identity and difference. The book examines and historicizes the role of spatialities often occluded within the debates on Sri Lankan politics such as, cities and built-space, diasporic productions and imaginations, commodity cultures and their concordant networks, knowledge spaces and ‘foreign’ intervention, landscape and sacred space, as well as geographical knowledge.
Situated at the intersection of human geography and postcolonial studies, the book signals the ways that postcolonialism and geography are intimately linked and how their intersections evoke the social, spatial and political effects of enduring colonial discourse and representation. In developing its argument, Spatialising Politics also gestures towards alternative spatial imaginations, possibilities and representations, at a time when spaces for alternative discourses on Sri Lankan politics are fast shrinking.
The green fatigues had vanished. The trademark cyanide capsule was tucked away. After 20 years of waging war against the Sri Lankan government and ruthlessly eliminating his enemies, the Tamil leader Velupillai Prabhakaran emerged from the jungle yesterday in a clean grey shirt: a clear sign that his career of violence and revolutionary mayhem is now over. Probably. (Harding 2002)
And so began a brief four-year window of peace from February 2002 to April 2006, packed full of half successful negotiations, mandates, and agreements. The A9 road into Jaffna was reopened, having been closed for several years during the war, to facilitate Prabharkaran's symbolic emergence in 2002, an emergence caught by the glare of the world's media. The road remained open ...