Author Archives: Sharika Thiranagama

About Sharika Thiranagama

Assistant professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research and visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Stanford University. Her book In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka (Pennsylvania, 2011) is based on fieldwork with two different ethnic groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims. The book explores the impact of twenty-five years of civil war on forms of ethnicization, ideas of home in the midst of profound displacement, and relationships between the political and the familial in the midst of political repression and militarization. Her new work examines transformations after the end of war in 2009.

Claiming the State: Postwar Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist LTTE. International and local pressure around war crime allegations and the lack of political reform subsequently forced the state to initiate the 2010 Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. This essay first takes the LLRC and the minority response to it to argue that this reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is very little about ethnic reconciliation between communities and instead is a “state performance” in the midst of ongoing violence. Secondly, the essay takes into account everyday relationships between displaced Sri Lankan Tamils returning “home.” The essay argues that long-term reconciliation between former neighbors rests upon the possibility of larger political transformation rather than face-to-face coexistence alone.