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Sacred ModernityNature, Environment and the Postcolonial Geographies of Sri Lankan Nationhood$
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Tariq Jazeel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318863

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318863.001.0001

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Sacred Modernity: Nature, Religion, and the Politics of Aesthetics

Sacred Modernity: Nature, Religion, and the Politics of Aesthetics

(p.9) Chapter 1 Sacred Modernity: Nature, Religion, and the Politics of Aesthetics
Sacred Modernity

Tariq Jazeel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter develops the problem of alterity that the book tackles; namely, how to explore the political power of non-dualistic Sinhala-Buddhist natural and environmental formations through a Eurocentric theory culture that gives us the irreducibly dualistic concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘religion’ to think with. Using postcolonial intellectual and methodological resources, the chapter develops a theoretical approach to do this work, proposing that thinking through ‘environmental aesthetics’ provides a useful supplement to ‘nature’ and ‘religion’, one that is able to demonstrate the existence of ethnicizing Buddhist spatial formations that are intensely political in the Sri Lankan context. The chapter shows how this approach reveals how Sinhala-Buddhist environmental aesthetics produce spatialities through which Sri Lanka's Tamils, Muslims and other others are produced as minority groups. It refers to these kinds of ethnicizing spatial production as a form of ‘cosmopolitan Sinhala Buddhist nationalism’.

Keywords:   nature, religion, Sinhala, Buddhism, aesthetics, space, cosmopolitanism, postcolonial, nationalism

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