IIAS Lunch Lecture

Ritual, Dance and the Magic of Heritage in Sri Lanka

A lecture by Eva Ambos, IIAS research fellow. 
Lunch is provided. Registration is required.

In July 2016, a violent clash between groups of Sinhalese and Tamil students erupted at Jaffna University in Sri Lanka over the introduction of ves dance, a dance considered to represent Sinhalese Buddhist heritage and culture, as a welcoming ceremony for new students. While the texture of this incident is complex, it nevertheless illustrates the centrality of dance in Sri Lanka to map ethnic difference. The lecture will discuss this ethnicization of dance in Sri Lanka by focusing on the heritagization of the kohomba kankariya ritual tradition from which ves dance originates. By drawing on material gathered during ethnographic fieldwork in post-war Sri Lanka, Eva Ambos will advance the argument that heritage politics operates along similar lines as so-called sympathetic magic, a term coined by anthropologist James G. Frazer at the end of the 19th century and revived by Michael Taussig to analyze the nature of the modern nation state.

Eva Ambos studied Cultural Anthropology and Contemporary European History at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. In 2015, she completed her PhD at the same University about the ‘heritagization’ of the yaktovil and kohomba kankariya ritual healing systems in Sri Lanka. Since May 2017, she has been a research fellow at the Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Registration (required)

Please register via the webform below if you would like to attend this lunch lecture.

About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, one of the IIAS affiliated fellows will give an informal presentation about his/her work-in-progress for colleagues and others interested. IIAS organises these lunch lectures to give the research community an opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas. Lunch lectures are sometimes also organised for visiting scholars.