H. L. Seneviratne

Professor, Emeritus

  • Ph.D. University of Rochester 1973

Specialties

Religion and politics, socialism, classical social theory, human rights, democracy and free market economy, ethno-nationalism, cinema, art and popular culture.

My early research interests were fashioned by three factors in the context of my growing up in Sri Lanka. First, Buddhist rituals were all around me, and I was stimulated to explore the meaning of these rituals. Second, Sri Lanka was going through radical social change. Third, Sri Lanka was groping for an identity and economic security after its recent emergence from British colonial domination. My published work reflects these contextual factors as well as my belief that the utility of traditional sociological theory is by no means exhausted.

My present work represents a critical examination of the themes and social processes arising from the kind of social context mentioned above, which is commonplace in the contemporary world. Social change, emergence from colonialism, and the search for national identity and economic security have brought out a great deal of idealism, but much more turbulence, confusion and human suffering. I believe anthropology should contribute to our understanding of these, and help minimize poverty, inequality, injustice, discrimination, violence and human rights abuses. Broadly conceived inquiry into these areas constitutes an important part of my present research interests.

Specializations

Religion and politics, socialism, classical social theory, human rights, democracy and free market economy, ethno-nationalism, cinema, art and popular culture.

Selected Publications

2001 - Buddhist Monks and Ethnic Politics.  

Anthropology Today 17 (2)

1999 - The Work of Kings: The New Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Chicago: Chicago University Press. 

1992 - Essence of Food and the Essence of Experience.  

In The Eternal Food. R. S. Khare, ed. Pp. 179-200.

 Albany: State University of New York Press. 1990 - Identity and the Conflation of Past and Present.  

Social Analysis (Special Issue: Consciousness and the Past) 25:3-17.

1986 - Kingship and Polity in Buddhism and Hinduism.  

Contributions to Indian Sociology 22 (1):147-155.

1981 - Bodhipuja: Collective Representations of Sri Lanka Youth.  

American Ethnologist 7 (4):734-743.

1981 - Rituals of the Kandyan State.  

Jack Goody, ed.

 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1981 - Politics and Pageantry: Universalisaton of Ritual in Sri Lanka.  

Man 12 (1):65-75.

Selected Publications

2001 - Buddhist Monks and Ethnic Politics.  

Anthropology Today 17 (2)

1999 - The Work of Kings: The New Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Chicago: Chicago University Press. 

1992 - Essence of Food and the Essence of Experience.  

In The Eternal Food. R. S. Khare, ed. Pp. 179-200.

 Albany: State University of New York Press. 

1990 - Identity and the Conflation of Past and Present.  

Social Analysis (Special Issue: Consciousness and the Past) 25:3-17.

1986 - Kingship and Polity in Buddhism and Hinduism.  

Contributions to Indian Sociology 22 (1):147-155.

1981 - Bodhipuja: Collective Representations of Sri Lanka Youth.  

American Ethnologist 7 (4):734-743.

1981 - Rituals of the Kandyan State.  

Jack Goody, ed.

 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

1981 - Politics and Pageantry: Universalisaton of Ritual in Sri Lanka.  

Man 12 (1):65-75.