Political Violence & Oral Histories: Presenting the Archive of Sri Lankan Tamil Feminist Dissent


Date(s) - 09/30/2022
11:00 am - 12:15 pm


Image of the Jaffna Library in 1999, with text that reads: "Political Violence & Oral Histories: Presenting the Archive of Sri Lankan Tamil Feminist Dissent, 30 September 2022, 11am-12:15pm Eastern"

Co-hosted with the South Asian American Digital Archive

Join the PublicsLab and South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) as we celebrate the launch of the oral history collection “Tamil Feminist Liberation: An Archive of What Could Be.” This oral history collection is one of the first attempts to document the legacies of feminist dissent in the Sri Lankan Tamil community. Sri Lanka was home to one of the longest civil wars in modern history, reaching a bloody climax in May 2009, where tens of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians were massacred by government forces. Enforced disappearances, acts of genocide, torture, and internecine assassinations continue to reverberate in today’s ‘post-war’ era as Sri Lanka faces the worst economic crisis in its postcolonial history. The purpose of this oral history collection is to document the transformative and liberatory potential of a Tamil feminist politics when practiced across political and social difference while faced with the adversities of armed and structural violence.

Join us as we examine what a feminist politics, practiced in the context of Sri Lankan Tamil political struggle, can teach us about facilitating transformation in today’s global era of rising fascism and sea levels. This virtual launch will include a panel of project advisors and interviewees. Panelists include: Sharika Thiranagama, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University; Mahendran Thiruvarangan, CUNY alumnus and Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Jaffna University in Sri Lanka; Meenadchi, family constellation practitioner and instructor in decolonial non-violent communication; YaliniDream, interdisciplinary performance artist; and Aanjali Allegakoen, MA/PhD candidate in American Studies at William & Mary University. This virtual event will be followed by an in-person workshop taking place in early November, “Tamil Feminist Praxis: Embodying Complexity.”

Registration & Event Details

This event will be held via Zoom. Please RSVP for the virtual conversation by registering here! If you have any accessibility needs for this event, please email us at publicslab@gc.cuny.edu.

The PublicsLab thanks Shibanee Sivanayagam and Kartik Amarnath for their work in organizing this event.

Event Timing in Different Time Zones

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Eastern U.S. & Canada (GMT-4)
8:00 AM – 9:15 AM Pacific U.S. & Canada (GMT-7)
3:00 PM – 4:15 PM GMT
4:00 PM – 5:15 PM UK (GMT+1)
8:30 PM – 9:45 PM Sri Lanka (GMT+5:30)
11:00 PM – 12:15 AM Malaysia (GMT+8)


Headshot for Sharika ThiranagamaSharika Thiranagama is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University and the current President of the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (2020-2023). She has conducted research and written on Sri Lanka and South India. She has written on ethnic conflict, generational relations, political violence in wartime and post-war Sri Lanka, and on inherited inequality, Dalit communities, and caste and agrarian life in Kerala, South India. She is the author of In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka  (UPENN, 2011).


Headshot for MeenadchiMeenadchi (she/her) is a somatic healing practitioner whose work centers the softness of meeting our best self and deepening into our collective light. Using a blend of Family Constellation Therapy and Non-Violent Communication, Meenadchi supports inquisitive individuals and entreprenuerial changemakers in reconnecting with the intuitive wisdom of our bodies so that we can co-create intergenerational healing by changing the way we speak to ourselves, each other, and the universe. Meenadchi holds a clinical license in occupational therapy and has historically served communities impacted by gender-based violence, complex trauma, and serious mental illness. She is the author of Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication (2019).


Headshot for YaliniDreamYaliniDream is a cultural worker, performing artist, organizer, somatics practitioner, and consultant who reshapes reality and transforms culture; seeking peace through justice in lands of earth, psyche, body and dream. In their coaching practice, YaliniDream employs creative, contemplative and somatic practices to support people in identifying the areas they need support and growth. YaliniDream coaches from an anti-oppression lens and trauma-informed approach, with expertise in cultivating creativity/innovation, leadership development, healing justice and conflict navigation. YaliniDream also provides thought partnership to support alignment of values and action.


Headshot for Mahendran ThiruvaranganMahendran Thiruvarangan is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Jaffna. He teaches early-modern writings, postcolonialism and South Asian literatures. His academic interests include decolonisation and the nation-state, literature and land, and radical democracy. He obtained his PhD in English from the Graduate Center, City University of New York in 2019.



Headshot for Aanjali AllegakoenS. Aanjali Allegakoen is a first-year American Studies PhD student at the College of William and Mary. Aanjali’s research interests include identity formation among racialized migrants, especially South Asian migrants, as well as how LGBTQIA+ identities and geography factor into this formation. She is passionate about a holistic and nuanced approach to her work in understanding racialized and colonized peoples. Aanjali has launched her 2021 IDEA Grant funded project, Ninaivu: Memory Archive in an effort to catalogue the plurality of the (Eelam/Ilankai/SL) Tamil experience in North America.



Headshot for Kartik AmarnathKartik Amarnath (he/him) is a 2021-2022 Archival Creator Fellow at the South Asian American Digital Archive and coordinated the oral history project “Tamil Feminist Liberation: An Archive of What Could Be.” The ‘third culture kid’ of an Indo-Malaysian mother and Ilankai Tamil father, Kartik grew up across four countries. He is a graduate of The New School (M.S. Design & Urban Ecologies) and DePauw University (B.A. Biology; Anthropology & Philosophy minors). Prior to The New School he was a Fulbright Scholar in Kuala Lumpur studying environmental gentrification in his mother’s childhood neighborhood. His full time role is serving as the Policy Specialist at PUSH Buffalo. His writing on topics ranging from urban environmental justice to Sri Lankan Tamil feminism have been published in Environmental Health News, The Guardian, Naked Capitalism, The Albany Times Union, Tides Magazine, and academic journals in law and medicine.