Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The story of Sri Lanka, then and now

Nearly a decade ago, professor Adele Barker and her son Noah came to Sri Lanka from Tucson, Arizona, to the island. Settling into its verdant central highlands, she says, they spent the next year "immersing themselves in the customs, cultures, and landscapes of Sri Lanka -- its elephants, birds, and monkeys; its hot curries and sweet mangoes; the cacophony of its markets; the resonant evening chants from its temples.

They would also encounter there a world infused with the religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and missionary Christianity -- and with the troubled history of sectarian violence that had culminated in a 25-year civil war, one of the bloodiest such wars in our times.

Barker, who was awarded Ucross Fellowship for her work on her book, Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka (Beacon Press, Boston) has taught at the universities of Arizona and Washington. She is the author or editor of five books on Russian literature and cultural life. Most recently, she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant to teach and write in Sri Lanka.

Full report here

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