Bio


Sharika Thiranagama’s research has focused on various aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Primarily, she has conducted research with two different ethnic groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims. Her research explores changing forms of ethnicisation, the effects of protracted civil war on ideas of home in the midst of profound displacement and the transformations in and relationships between the political and the familial in the midst of political repression and militarization. She has also conducted other research on the history of railways in Sri Lanka, on the political culture of treason amongst Sri Lankan Tamils, the BBC World service in South Asia etc. She is currently undertaking new research in Sri Lanka on post war life in the Jaffna Peninsula mapping new post war social configurations. The second fieldwork project that she is conducting fieldwork on currently is entitled " The Local Level Social Life of Global Ideologies" and will be based in Kerala, South India. It is based in the Palakkad district of Kerala and will examine three generations of transformation among agricultural workers and the rural library movement."

Academic Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Administrative Appointments


  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University (2013 - Present)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University (2011 - 2013)
  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research (2009 - 2012)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology, London School of Economics (LSE) (2007 - 2010)
  • Research Consultant, Open University (UK) and ASSR, University of Amsterdam (2007 - 2009)
  • Economic and Social Research Council of Great Britain (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship, Edinburgh University (2005 - 2006)
  • Nancy L Buc Postdoctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center, Brown University (2005 - 2006)

Honors & Awards


  • Grant for project: The Local Level Social Life of Global Ideologies (Kerala), The National Science Foundation. Cultural Anthropology Program (2015-2017)
  • Post PhD Research Grant, Wenner Gren Foundation (2015-2016)
  • Nancy L Buc Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pembroke Center, Brown University (2004-2005)
  • ESRC Overseas Award for study abroad - taken at Department of Anthropology Johns Hopkins University, Economic Social Research Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2004)
  • ESRC Postgraduate Studentship, Economic Social Research Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2001-2005)
  • Davidson Prize, St Johns College, Cambridge University (2000-2001)
  • Isaac Newton Trust Bursary, St Johns College, University of Cambridge (2000)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Commonwealth Travelling Scholarship, University of Cambridge (2000)
  • Scholar of St Johns, St Johns College, Cambridge University (2000)
  • Isaac Newton Trust Bursary, St Johns College, University of Cambridge (1999)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Commonwealth Travelling Scholarship, University of Cambridge (1999)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2013 - Present)
  • Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2010 - 2013)
  • Institutional Representative, New School, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2010 - 2011)
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Stanford University Press, Routledge, Indiana University Press
  • Reviewer, Modern Asian Studies, American Ethnologist, Ethnography, JRAI,
  • Reviewer, Dialectical Anthropology Medical Anthropology, Anthropology and Education Quarterly,
  • Reviewer, Feminist Review, South Asia Diaspora, Contemporary South Asia, Culture Medicine and Pyschiatry,

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, Social Anthropology (2006)
  • MSc by Research, University of Edinburgh, Social Anthropology (2002)
  • B.A. (Hons), St John's College Cambridge, Social Anthropology (2001)

2018-19 Courses


All Publications


  • The civility of strangers? Caste, ethnicity, and living together in postwar Jaffna, Sri Lanka ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY Thiranagama, S. 2018; 18 (2-3): 357–81
  • Introduction: Whose civility? ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY Thiranagama, S., Kelly, T., Forment, C. 2018; 18 (2-3): 153–74
  • Making Tigers from Tamils: Long-Distance Nationalism and Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST Thiranagama, S. 2014; 116 (2): 265-278

    View details for DOI 10.1111/aman.12099

    View details for Web of Science ID 000337535600003

  • Sri Lanka's Lingering State of War CURRENT HISTORY Thiranagama, S. 2014; 113 (762): 163-164
  • The Self at a Time of War in Northern Sri Lanka JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY Thiranagama, S. 2013; 26 (1): 19-40

    View details for DOI 10.1111/johs.12013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316633500002

  • Reconciliation, Popular Aspirations, and the State Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development Thiranagama, S., Biner, O. 2013; 4 (1):
  • Claiming the State: Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development Thiranagama, S. 2013; 4 (1)
  • 'A Railway to the Moon': The post-histories of a Sri Lankan railway line MODERN ASIAN STUDIES Thiranagama, S. 2012; 46: 221-248
  • Muslims, Ethnicity and Minority Identity in Sri Lanka Religion and Politics in South Asia Thiranagama, S. edited by Jaffrelot, C., Arif, A. Purushartha, Sciences Sociales en Asie du Sud. Paris: EHESS. 2012
  • Ethnic entanglements: The BBC Tamil and Sinhala services amidst the civil war in Sri Lanka JOURNALISM Thiranagama, S. 2011; 12 (2): 153-169
  • In My Mother's House: Civil War in Sri Lanka Obeysekere, G., Thiranagama, S. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2011
  • Spectres of Treason Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy and the Ethics of State Building Kelly, T., Thiranagama, S. edited by Thiranagama, S., Kelly, T. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2010
  • Praise of Traitors: Intimacy, Betrayal and the Sri Lankan Tamil Community Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy and the Ethics of State-Buildin edited by Thiranagama, S., Kelly, T. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2010
  • Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy and the Ethics of State-Building edited by Kelly, T., Thiranagama, S. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2010
  • South Asian Diasporas and the BBC World Services: Contacts, Conflicts, and Contestations South Asian Diaspora edited by Gillespie, M., Thiranagama, S., Pinkerton, A., Baumann, G. 2010
  • Partitioning the BBC: From Colonial to Postcolonial Broadcaster South Asian Diaspora Thiranagama, S. 2010; 2 (1): 39-55
  • A New Morning? Reoccupying home in the aftermath of violence in Sri Lanka Struggles for Home: Violence, Hope, and the Movement of People Thiranagama, S. edited by Jansen, S., Löfving, S. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books. 2009
  • The right of return to Jaffna Himal South Asian Thiranagama, S. 2008; 21 (1)
  • The Eviction of Tamils and Muslims from Jaffna Daily Mirror Thiranagama, S. 2008
  • Review of Ritualizing on the Boundaries: Continuity and Innovation in the Tamil Diaspora by F.W. Clothey Religion Thiranagama, S. 2008; 30: 195-218
  • The Shadow Diaspora: Sri Lankan Tamils in Colombo Infochange Agenda Thiranagama, S. 2008
  • A New Morning? Reoccupying home in the aftermath of violence in Sri Lanka Focaal: European Journal of Anthropology Thiranagama, S. 2007; 49 (1): 45-61
  • Moving on? Memory, generation and home for displaced Northern Muslims in Sri Lanka Ghosts of Memory: Essays on Remembrance and Relatedness Thiranagama, S. edited by Carsten, J. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. 2007
  • A Dream of Return: Northern Muslims in Sri Lanka ISIM Review Thiranagama, S. 2007; 20