[UCC Women’s Studies] Bodily Traces and the ‘Disappeared’ in Sri Lanka

Tues 24th April 4pm-6pm, ORB 255

Speaker: Dr Malathi de Alwis

Bodily Traces and the ‘Disappeared’ in Sri Lanka

Forced ‘disappearance’ is one of the most insidious forms of
violence as it seeks to obliterate the body and indefinitely extends and exacerbates
the grief of those left behind. In this paper, I reflect on how such chronic mourners
‘re-inhabit the world’ in the face of continuously deferring loss, and seek to
theorize what might be its political outcome(s). Arguing that this re-inhabiting
is a constant tracing of traces given the ambiguous nature of the ‘disappeared’s’
status of absence, and thus presence, I explore a particular ‘identification with
suffering’ that is embraced and embodied by Sinhala women whose children
were ‘disappeared’ during the second People’s Liberation Front (JVP) uprising
(1988–1993). In such a context, visual and tactile objects such as photographs
and clothing, I suggest, become especially meaningful by reasserting the presence
of the ‘disappeared’. In conclusion, I engage Judith Butler’s contention
that grief is a tie that binds and thus enables the imagining of alternative
political communities to reflect on how such a conceptualization might be helpful
to re-invigorate political communities in Sri Lanka.

[Malathi (Mala) de Alwis is a socio-cultural anthropologist who has published extensively on issues of nationalism, militarism, humanitarianism and feminism in Sri Lanka. Her current work explores the politicisation of suffering and the memorialisation of grief in the wake of atrocity and disaster.]

Malathi occasionally writes columns for the Guardian newspaper www.guardian.co.uk/profile/malathi-de-alwis

Some of her work is available at www.mdealwis.squarespace.com/

Hi,
Just letting you all know that on Tues 24th April Women’s Studies will host a seminar with Sri Lankan feminist scholar and activist Dr Malathi (Mala) de Alwis.

Malathi is a socio-cultural anthropologist who has published extensively on issues of nationalism, militarism, humanitarianism and feminism in Sri Lanka. Her current work explores the politicisation of suffering and the memorialisation of grief in the wake of atrocity and disaster.

The venue will be ORB 255 and the seminar will begin at 4.00pm.

I will forward more info in a couple of days. It promises to be a very interesting seminar and we’d love to have you there if you are available.

All the best,

Sandra

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