The causes of the current societal, economic, and political crisis in Sri Lanka are complex. The immediate roots of the crisis are the local and global economic factors, fuelled by the popular protests against the corruption of the governing political elites. What does the ongoing crisis have to do with catastrophic or distant events like the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine? What role does foreign debt, especially indebtedness to China, play in the crisis? How does the fragile architecture of Sri Lanka’s political economy and its dependence on remittances survive when funds are being siphoned off into foreign investments by the national elites? What are the prospects of civil society-led democratic reforms in the face of Sri Lanka’s militarized political structures?
Guests featured in this episode
Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Drawing on feminist scholarship, postcolonial and cultural studies, she has published extensively on Sri Lankan society, gender, justice. Neloufer has been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships and grants from the MacArthur Foundation, a Fulbright Scholarship at Yale, and the IWM in Vienna. Some of her books are: Women and the Nation’s Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in Twentieth Century Sri Lanka, Gendering the Tsunami: Women’s Experiences from Sri Lanka, and Militarizing Sri Lanka: Popular Culture, Memory and Narrative in the Armed Conflict (2007).