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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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Landscape, Nature, Nationhood: A Historical Geography of Ruhuna (Yala) National Park

Landscape, Nature, Nationhood: A Historical Geography of Ruhuna (Yala) National Park

(p.27) Chapter 2 Landscape, Nature, Nationhood: A Historical Geography of Ruhuna (Yala) National Park
Sacred Modernity

Tariq Jazeel

Liverpool University Press

This first chapter of Part I (on ‘Ruhuna (Yala) National Park’) introduces Sri Lanka's most famous national park, Ruhuna. Drawing on landscape theory drawn from cultural geography, art history and environmental history, as well as archival research it discusses Ruhuna National Park's colonial and contemporary spatial formations. By doing so, the chapter's main argument is that the park's materialities and its discursive and affective resonances are the hybrid result of late colonial desires to enclose and civilize regressive nature on the one hand, and on the other, post-independent desires to reposition Ruhuna as a sacred, anti-colonial Sinhala landscape. The chapter elucidates on the colonial and anti-colonial modernities and rationalities that have framed the park as a quintessential space of Sri Lankan nationhood.

Keywords:   Landscape, national parks, Ruhuna, Yala, colonialism, hunting, forestry, nationhood

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