Category Archives: cultural transmission

The Early History of Sociology at the University of Ceylon

H.L. Seneviratne,** Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, USA, in Social Affairs: A Journal for the Social Sciences, ISSN 2478-107X (online) …. www.socialaffairsjournal.com

This paper is an account of the Department of Sociology of the University of Ceylon in approximately the first decade of its existence. The most significant development during this period was the transition of the department from one that provided courses for other departments, in particular Economics, to one that awarded its own degrees, making it a full-fledged and autonomous entity. The inability to grant its own degrees was not a plight rooted in any statutory limitation but a limitation of resources, in particular the want of adequate teaching staff. This may partly have been due to the ‘late comer’ status of Sociology in relation to other disciplines, and a related vicious circle of inadequate resources and low enrollments. Being a subordinate partner of Economics was also a part of the legacy of the department’s structural origin in the model of British universities. The oldest Department of Sociology in the UK was at the London School of Economics (LSE) and only goes back to the beginning of the 20th century; and it started as a subsidiary of the Economics Department. This paper makes an attempt to assess the relative contribution of the two major figures that strived in their own ways to secure the progress of the department towards achieving full-fledged status as a department that granted its own degrees.

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Debating Modern Ceylon History with Daggers Drawn: Roberts vs De Silva, 1986-91

Two Peradeniya colleagues from yesteryear, Professor Kingsley de Silva and Michael Roberts, took sharply different positions on facets of the island history in British colonial and post-1948 times in hardhitting essays in local journals and newspapers in the period 1986 to 1991. The series began with Michael Roberts’s article-length review of KM De Silva:  Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 1880-1985  (Lanham, University Press of America) ….. and continued with KM De Silva’s hard-hitting review of the book, People Inbetween (Colombo, Sarvodaya, 1989) where Roberts was the principal author in a triumvirate that included Percy-Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem.

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People In Between: The Splendid Contortions of DBU Diehards

Rajiva Wijesinha, reviewing the book People Inbetween in the Sunday Observer of 24 March 1991 **

“In this review of the book by three Sri Lankans – Michael Roberts, Percy Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem, Rajiva Wijesinha discusses some interesting aspects that go to make People In Between a ‘fascinating social history’.” — The Observer’s Introduction

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Bamboo Challenging the Willow in the Cricket-Bat World

Katrina Kramer of The Chemistry World, 11 May 2021, where the title is … Bamboo bats could beat traditional willow at affordable cricket” …. with highlights imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Cricket bats made from bamboo might help batters hit farther and faster, researchers have discovered. While willow has been the bat wood of choice for nearly 200 years, bamboo could deliver more energy to the ball during impact, though at the price of being much heavier. But bamboo’s fast growth could help make the sport more affordable to its rapidly growing fanbase.

Source: © Tom Almeroth-Williams

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Admiral Zheng He’s Imprint in Galle: Its Implications

 Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan, in The Island, 9 June 2021, where the title runs: “Mandarin and Tamil -A Historical Perspective.”

The recent discovery of name- boards in public institutions which have omitted one of the national languages, namely Tamil, only to replace it with Mandarin Chinese has caused a furor with Tamil members of Parliament and other politicians voicing their protests. Certainly, this is most unfortunate but rather than blame the Chinese it is the government Authorities in charge of the implementation of the Official Languages policy who should be blamed. That they have been remiss in this instance is only a small part of the general malaise in respect of the implementation of the official languages policy.

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Laki Senanayake As I Knew Him

Ismeth Raheem: An Appreciation of Laki Senanayake (1937–2021)

Given Laki Senanayake’s stature and personality, I am confident that there will be a fair share of obituaries and appreciations that will attempt to capture something of the man and his work. This is a more personal account of my encounters with Laki, which span over half a century. By no means is this an overview of his life or work. For the most part this account is anecdotal, but it does strive to convey aspects of his personality, his passions and the work he created and inspired.

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A Searing Wide-Ranging Critique from Qadri Ismail after 21/4 in 2019 ……. Now a Requiem

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews, 5 May 2019 after the 21/4 Atrocities

Photo by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post

We hadn’t seen him in years, ever since he left to work abroad. So, on the day of his return, his mother invited the extended family to lunch. As he walked through the door we reacted collectively, gasped audibly. He wore a sharp suit but sported one of those long, unkempt, rowdy beards. Perhaps, I thought, there are no barbers in Saudi Arabia. (You never know, it’s a weird place).

 

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Meaningful Appreciations of Qadri Ismail from the University of Minnesota

From the Department of English, with this heading  “In Memoriam: Professor Qadri Ismail: Brilliant thinker, inspiring teacher, loyal friend”

With deep sorrow, we note the death of our esteemed colleague Professor Qadri Ismail, who died in May at home of natural causes. He was 59. A noted scholar of cultural studies, postcolonial literature, literary theory, and gender and sexuality, Ismail joined English at Minnesota as Assistant Professor in 1997 and served the department in numerous capacities, including Chair of the department’s first Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Director of Graduate Studies.

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A Diehard Empiricist Responds

KM De Silva, in Daily News, 8 April 1991

Michael Roberts’s response to my review of his book (the Daily News 19 and 20 September 1990) published in the Daly News of 27 March 1991 is at once characteristic and unusual. It is characteristic because my one-time student and erstwhile colleague at Peradeniya has never been known to do things by halves.

He writes two responses to the review in two separate newspapers (the Daily News of March 27 and the Sunday Observer of 31 March), only one of which, the Daily News, published the original review.

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Vale: Appreciating Fr. Don Andrew Leonard Perera Abayasekara of Kandy

Nilantha Perera Palihawadana: “Remembering Rev Fr. Don Andrew Leonard Perera Abayasekara of Kandy (13th March 1903 to 4th March 1987)”

Beginnings: Don Andrew Leonard Perera Abayasekara was born on 13th March 1903 at ‘Kahavita Wallawa’, Cross Street Kandy, to Kahavita Don Jeronimus Perera Abayasekara Tillekeratna Mohandiram of Kandy and Magdalen Eliza Perera Wijesingha Samarasekera Abayasekara Lamaethane. He was baptised on 7th May 1905 by Rev Dr. D.B. Beekmeyer O.S.B, Bishop of Kandy at the family church the St. Anthony’s Cathedral.

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