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SAP Seminar Series: "Contradictions of Craft and the Cunning of Culture: The Co-Production of Caste in a Sri Lankan Artisan Village" by Aimée Douglas

Monday, May 7, 2018 at 12:15pm to 1:30pm

Uris Hall, G08

In Sri Lanka, caste among the Sinhalese has long been disavowed as a remnant of another era, a social artefact fated to diminish with the ascendance of a market economy. And yet, even at a moment when agents of neoliberal governance explicitly identify cultural heritage as every much a resource for domestic economic growth as tea, tourism, or textiles, those engaged in the country’s historically caste-based traditional craft industries face the consequences of caste’s quiet but indisputable reproduction in their daily lives. This talk draws on ethnographic research among craft producers, government officers and others in a government-designated “artisan village” in Sri Lanka’s central province to illustrate what this reproduction looks like.

Aimée Douglas is a sociocultural anthropologist who has been visiting and conducting ethnographic research in Sri Lanka since 2005. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell’s Department of Anthropology in 2017.

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program




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Valerie Foster Githinji

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