HIS 4193 Evolution of the Modern Historiography in Sri Lanka

Course Description:
This course is designed to give fourth year students a comprehensive introduction to the modern historiography of Sri Lanka. The course will examine the evolution of historiography of Sri Lanka from early British period and the writing of History of Sri Lanka as a scientific historiography and mainstreaming History as a discipline. It also discusses how writing history has taken a turning point as a nationalist project and how it has impact on the understanding of the pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary histories of Sri Lanka.

Learning Objectives:
This course will provide an understanding for fourth year students of the formation of modern historiography in the colonial and post colonial Sri Lanka. It will be a tool for them to investigate some methodological and ideological problems relating to writing history of Sri Lanka. Students will also be introduced to emerging new approaches to historiography of Sri Lanka.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of this course, students should be able to
• Understand the “history of Sri Lanka” as a historiographical and ideological construction.
• Critically evaluate the texts produced as “History of Sri Lanka”.
• Be analytical on the various approaches to historiography of Sri Lanka.

Course Content:
1. Introduction: Representation of the past as an object of social theory.
2. Views of the past in the early British period:
• Natives views of the past
• European views of the past of the island
• Collection, interpretation of ancient chronicles and gathering information on remnants of the ancient civilizations of Sri Lanka.
3. The beginning of the scientific historiography:
• Engaging in methods of scientific historiography to study the past of Sri Lanka.
• Mainstreaming History as a discipline in higher studies
• Pioneer local historians and their contributions to writing history of Sri Lanka.

4. Nationalist discourses and Historiography
• Emergence of Sinhala/Tamil nationalism and its role on constructing the views of the past
5. Historiography in the post colonial period:
• Constructing a comprehensive history (The university of Ceylon History of Ceylon).
• The formation of the postcolonial state and the role of historiography as an agent of ideological practice
• Production of History text books for schools of Sri Lanka

6. Historiography and identity politics
• Nexus between conflicting Sinhala/Tamil ethnic identity politics and historiography of Sri Lanka
• Selected debates based on ethnic identity politics ( Debate on origin of the Sinhalese and the debate on the Tamil home land)
7. Alternative approaches to traditional historiography of Sri Lanka.

Attendance 10%
Midterm test or assignment 30%
Final Exam 60%

Recommended Readings:
අත්තනායක අනුලා (1994) දහනමවෙනි සියවසේ බ්‍රිතාන්‍යයින් දුටු ලංකාව කතෘ ප්‍රකාශන
ගුණවර්ධන ලෙස්ලි (2005) ඉතිහාසයේ අතීතය ශික්ෂණයක වර්ධනය පිළිබඳ විමර්ශනයක් කොළඹ: ගොඩගේ සහ සහෝදරයෝ
ධර්මපාල අනගාරික (1991) ධර්මපාල ප්‍රතිරාවය (සංස් ආනන්ද ගුරුගේ ) අධ්‍යාපන දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව
මෙන්ඩිස් (1966) ලංකා ඉතිහාසයේ ගැටළු සීමාසහිත කොළඹ අපොතිකරිස් සහ සමාගම
Mendis, G.C. (1996), The Pali Chronicles of Sri Lanka, (Colombo)
Perera, Frank (1979), The Early Buddhist Historiography of Ceylon, (Göttingen)