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Virtual: Visit Rural Lanka: Re-Making Home on Shifting Sands


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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

South Asia Center presents

Elizabeth Bittel

Assistant Professor Department of Sociology

SUNY Cortland

Visit Rural Lanka: Re-Making Home on Shifting Sands

Dr. Bittel explores the multidimensional processes at play in complex humanitarian emergencies that produce disparate long-term recovery outcomes in Sri Lankan communities as they recover(ed) from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan civil war. This talk focuses specifically on the rapid rise of the tourism economy in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, to interrogate how recovery and tourism development co-occur and highlight the implications for socio-cultural structures as communities work to integrate tourism into already-vulnerable social systems. Elizabeth will provide a brief presentation of her research findings, and then workshop ideas and questions for conducting long term ethnographic research in light of ongoing, co-occurring disasters in Sri Lanka including the the 2019 Easter Day terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka which was the most violent attack on civilians following the end of the war in 2009 and brought tragedy to both field sites, the global COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, and political uprisings. Central themes guiding the conversation will include how to ethically and logistically conduct long-term ethnographic research in communities as they experience intersecting, chronic disasters.

This talk is part of the Sustainable South Asia Initiative.  

Co-sponsored by the Moynihan Transboundary Crisis Management Group

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