• Avian Geographies: Understanding Ethno-Nationalism in Medieval Lanka
    Anoma Darshani Pieris

This research traces urbanization, territorial politics, and the rise of ethnonationalism in Sri Lanka's medieval period through the literary genre of message poems. It reconstructs a lost architectural heritage through these poems, which capture the island's urban geography prior to its destruction by European colonizers. In each of fifteen poems, and over several hundred verses, we follow the journeys of birds across a highly contested geo-political landscape, allegorically linked to a religio-mythical universe. More critically, these avian geographies map the emergence and dissemination of an urban national consciousness in South Asia, prior to colonization.

Anoma Pieris is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes: A Penal History of Singapore's Plural Society (2009). Her previous publications include Imagining Modernity: The Architecture of Valentine Gunasekara; JCY: The Architecture of Jones Coulter Young and (with coauthor P. Goad) New Directions in Tropical Asian Architecture. She holds degrees from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, and MIT. In 2003, she completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.