Trouser under Cloth: Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka

aa- anomaThe role of the home, the domestic sphere and the intimate, ethno-cultural identities that are cultivated within it, are critical to understanding the polemical constructions of country and city; tradition and modernity; and regionalism and cosmopolitanism. The home is fundamental to ideas of the homeland that give nationalism its imaginative form and its political trajectory.

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This book explores positions that are vital to ideas of national belonging through the history of colonial, bourgeois self-fashioning and post-colonial identity construction in Sri Lanka. The country remains central to related architectural discourses due to its emergence as a critical site for regional architecture, post-independence. Suggesting patterns of indigenous accommodation and resistance that are expressed through built form, the book argues that the nation grows as an extension of an indigenous private sphere, ostensibly uncontaminated by colonial influences, domesticating institutions and appropriating rural geographies in the pursuit of its hegemonic ideals.

This ambitious, comprehensive, wide-ranging book presents an abundance of new and original material and many imaginative insights into the history of architecture and nationalism from the mid nineteenth century to the present day.

Table of Contents

1 Domesticity and decolonization 1
2 Country and city 24
3 The trouser under the cloth 54
4 Nationalist dreams 86
5 The pioneers 119
6 Metropolitan cultures 156
7 Domesticating the nation 184
Appendix 214
Notes 217
Glossary 221
Bibliography 225
Index 247

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anoma Pieris is an associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning. She is an architectural historian by training with a specialist focus on South and Southeast Asian architecture. Her interdisciplinary approach is from history, anthropology and geography with an additional interest in gender studies. Her publications include, Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka: The trouser under the cloth (Routledge 2012) and Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes: a penal history of Singapore’s plural society (University of Hawaii press 2009). She teaches design in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes………………….. see



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