HIS 4175 Selected Documents

Course Description:
This course introduces students to documents that are used as sources of information in the field of history of Sri Lanka. Documents ranging from early Brahmi inscriptions to those produced in the early twentieth century, both traditional and non-traditional in nature, will be analysed in this course. Students will be trained not only to use documents as sources of information for historical reconstructions in a critical manner, but also to assess the ways in which these documents have been used for the purpose of writing history.

Learning Objectives:
The main objective of this course is to familiarise students with the documents that have great historical significance on shaping the history of Sri Lanka. In addition, this course will train students to apply the skills they have learned in other courses offered in the Department such as language skills, methods of historical inquiry, theoretical and conceptual explanations to critically analyse and evaluate the historical documents.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
• Have a thorough understanding of the nature of the documents they have studied
• Explain on what social, cultural, economic and political contexts these documents were produced
• Analyse historical biases and their impact on historiography of Sri Lanka.

Course Content:
1. Early Brahmi inscriptions
2. Inscriptions in the period of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa States
3. Pali Chronicles: Mahawansaya
4. Literary works after 13th century: Saddharmaratnavali and Sandesa poems
5. Portuguese documents: works of antiquarian writers; Portuguese Tombos
6. Minor chronicles after 13th century: Janawansaya, Yalpanavaipavamalai
7. Records of the Dutch Administration: Memoir of Baron Van Imhoff, selections from Tombos
8. Official Records of the British Administration: 1832 Colebrook Cameron Reforms; Wasteland Ordinance of 1848

9. Nationalist writings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Attendance 10%
Midterm Test or Assignment 30%
Final Exam 60%

Recommended Readings:
අභයවර්ධන ඒ පී (2009) ලේකම්මිටි විමර්ශනය කොළඹ: ජාතික ලේඛනාරක්ෂක දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව
Barber and Peniston-Bird (eds) (2009) History Beyond the Text: A Student’s Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources London/NY: Routledge.
මහාවංශය සිංහල බෞද්ධ සංස්කෘතික මධ්‍යස්ථානය (සංස්.) දෙහිවල: බෞද්ධ සංස්කෘතික මධ්‍යස්ථානය
M. B. Ariyapala, et.al. (eds) (2003). Janawamsaya: Jatibeda Lakshanaya Hewat Janawamsaya Nam Loka Niti Sangrahaya. Colombo: Godage Saha Sahodarayo.
Dobson and Ziemann(eds) (2009) Reading Primary Sources, NY: Routledge
Donoughmore Commsion (1928) Ceylon: Report of the Special Commission on the Constitution, London: His Majesty’s Stationary .
Memoir of Gustaaf Willem Baron Van Imhoff Governor of Ceylon Delivered to His Successor 1740, (1910) Translated by Sophia Pieters, Colombo: Ceylon Government Press.
Mendis, G.C.E.(ed.) (1956) The Colebrook-Cameron Papers, UK: Oxford University Press.
Perera, L. (2003) The Institutions of Ancient Ceylon from Inscriptions, Kandy: ICES.
White, H. (1975) ‘Historicism, History, and the figurative Imagination’ History and Theory, 14(4): 48-67
Soulbury Commission (1969) Ceylon: Report on the Commission on Constitutional Reform, Colombo: Ceylon Govt. Press.

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