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September 25 , 2008

Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka

The Trouser Under the Cloth


The 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.

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.

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