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About Nira Wickramasinghe
Nira Wickramasinghe is a professor in the department of history and international relations, the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She grew up in Paris and studied at the Université de Paris IV-Sorbonneand at Oxford University, where she earned her doctorate Among her books are Civil Society in Sri Lanka: New Circles of Power (New Delhi, Thousand Oaks/ Sage, 2001);Dressing the Colonised Body: Politics, Clothing and Identity in Colonial Sri Lanka(New Delhi, Orient Longman, 2003); and Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History of Contested Identities(C Hurst and University of Hawaii Press, 2006).
Articles by Nira Wickramasinghe
The Armenian genocide
Through the bars
No to TTIP
Meteoric rise of Islamic State
The passionate, lyrical voice of the poet from Martinique was part of a lifework that embrace négritude, Marxism and surrealism all in one, says Nira Wickramasinghe.
(This article was first published on 21 April 2008)
"Poetic knowledge is born in the great silence of scientific knowledge" (Aimé Césaire)
Reading Tariq Modood's article "Multiculturalism, citizenship and national identity" (17 May 2007) led me to reflect on how different the public debate on multiculturalism is in the United Kingdom and in a country such as Sri Lanka where multicultural policies have been grudgingly agreed to in order to answer the need for recognition by groups that have a claim to nationhood and self-determination. If there is as yet no "backlash" of the kind that has evidently occurred in Britain, the reason is that the debate in Sri Lanka is centred elsewhere: not on the merits or otherwise of multiculturalism, but on whether we are or are not a multicultural state at all!
The exclusivist politics and mindsets of those who have drowned Sri Lanka in civil war must be challenged by a creative recovery of the island's hybrid identities, says Nira Wickramasinghe.