The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics

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Duke University Press, Apr 13, 2011 - History - 772 pages
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The Sri Lanka Reader is a sweeping introduction to the epic history of the island nation located just off the southern tip of India. The island’s recorded history of more than two and a half millennia encompasses waves of immigration from the South Asian subcontinent, the formation of Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindu civilizations, the arrival of Arab Muslim traders, and European colonization by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and finally the British. Selected texts depict perceptions of the country’s multiple linguistic and religious communities, as well as its political travails after independence in 1948, especially the ethnic violence that recurred from the 1950s until 2009, when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were defeated by the Sri Lankan government’s armed forces. This wide-ranging anthology covers the aboriginal Veddhas, the earliest known inhabitants of the island; the Kings of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s last indigenous dynasty; twenty-first-century women who leave the island to work as housemaids in the Middle East; the forty thousand Sri Lankans killed by the tsunami in December 2004; and, through cutting-edge journalism and heart-wrenching poetry, the protracted violence that has scarred the country’s contemporary political history. Along with fifty-four images of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, The Sri Lanka Reader includes more than ninety classic and contemporary texts written by Sri Lankans and foreigners.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
I From Ancient to Early Modern
9
II The Colonial Encounter
133
III Emerging Identities
331
IV Independence Insurrections and Social Change
589
V Political Epilogue
713
Acknowledgment of Copyrights and Sources
735
Suggestions for Further Reading
745
Index
751
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

John Clifford Holt is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He has written many books, including Spirits of the Place: Buddhism and Lao Religious Culture, The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation, Politics and Culture, and The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka. He has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka.

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