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.
Chapter 5: Cartographic Violence: Engaging a Sinhala Kind of Geography
Cartographic Violence: Engaging a Sinhala Kind of Geography
On Postcolonialising Geography: Who and What?
In Anthropologizing Sri Lanka, Susantha Goonatilake (2001: xiii-xiv) attacks a number of respected anthropologists, Sri Lankan and foreign, and their purported misrepresentation of Sri Lankan history. His controversial book starts from a sociology of science perspective and tries to show how some key informants in Sri Lanka ‘fill in the contextual details of a complex reality that is Sri Lanka’ so that ‘this postcolonial anthropology appears worse than anything colonial anthropology wrought’. Goonatilake is disgruntled about the fact that much scholarship on Sri Lanka is written outside the island-state and that few gatekeepers in Sri Lanka itself have channelled it, mistakenly and falsely in his ...