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The conference will host over 40 scholars of various disciplines from North America, Europe, South Asia, and Australasia:


Artist: Vasuki
Artist: Kiko
Artist: Vasan

Abraham, S.
Ambalavanar, D.
Arasu, V.
Champakalakshmi, R.
Cheran, R.
Fukao, J.
George, G.
George, U.
Ghose, R.
Guruge, S.
Jegathesan, M.
Kanaganayakam, C.
Kanthasamy, P.
Karunakaran, K.
Karunanithi, G.
Kingsolver, A.
Mason, R.
Maunaguru, S.
Maunaguru, Sitralega
McNaughton, S.
More, J.B.P.
Orr, L.
Pai, G.
Palaniappan, S.
Pandian, M.S.S.
Rajesh, V.
Renganathan, V.
Sangarasivam, Y.
Seylon, R.
Shanmugam, K.
Sivalingam, H.
Sriramachandran, R.
Sundar, A.
Tambiah, S.J.
Tyyskä, V.
Vaitheespara, R.
Vivekananthan, P.
Whitaker, M.
Xavier, S.
Young, K.
Younger, P.

Sitralega Maunaguru

Department of Languages
Eastern University of Sri Lanka

Re-living the Devastated Social Landscape?
A Study on Continuity and Discontinuity of Social Relations in Religious Spaces in the East of Sri Lanka
Saturday, June 2nd | 9:30 - 11:30 AM

In the eastern region of Srilanka, Tamils and Muslims have been living together over many centuries. Both communities share one common language – Tamil. However they perceive them selves ethnically different; the difference is by religion- Islam for Muslims and Hinduism for Tamils. Since 1960s, communities have been under going inter-ethnic clashes, escalating into multiple displacements and massacres. The mosques became the sites of violence, suffering and political\ ethnic mobilization. Despite of such eruptions, Muslims and Tamils continued to live in next to each other, work at each other’s paddy fields, engage in business with each other, and share same routes for travel.

In this paper I highlight certain traditional spaces such as religious sites where both communities share beliefs and rituals to date. I pose a question that how people continue to live and still able to relate with each other in spite of haunting memories resulted from political violence. Are these spaces provide\ facilitate forums for people to deal with their relations? Are these spaces mending the broken bonds? How the continuity and discontinuity of social relationship between these communities reshape their relationships in the time of political violence. I am raising these questions based on the study on worship practices and social texture surrounding such practices in Auliya Pallivaasalkal (Auliya Mosques - Burial sites of Muslim saints) in some towns and villages in Batticaloa.

Dr. Maunaguru's research interests are Tamil literature, folklore and gender. Her publications include: “Gender and Tamil Nationalism: The Construction of Women in Projects of Protests and Control”, in Unmaking the Nation: The Politics of Identity and History in Modern Sri Lanka (1995); Literature, Ideology and Time: Bharthi on Women, Vipulam, Batticaloa (1996); “Women and Religious Rituals: Some observations based on the Religious Traditions in Batticaloa” in Gender, Ideology and Religion (2003); "Conflict and Development in Eastern Srilanka: The Gender Dimension" in Dealing with Diversity: Srilankan Discourses on Peace and Conflict (2004); Oral Traditions as Sources of History: Essays on Batticaloa Folklore (ed., 2004).