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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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Political Geographies: Promoting, Contesting, and Purifying Nature

Political Geographies: Promoting, Contesting, and Purifying Nature

(p.72) Chapter 4 Political Geographies: Promoting, Contesting, and Purifying Nature
Sacred Modernity

Tariq Jazeel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses key material and discursive contestations over Ruhuna National Park's meaning during Sri Lanka's recent civil war. From the late 1980s to the early 2000s, Ruhuna was subject to sporadic closure because of infiltration by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatists (LTTE, or ‘Tamil Tigers’). The chapters shows how the park was therefore a key material and imaginative geography through which Sri Lankan nationhood was contested, from its militarization involving checkpoint and surveillance culture through the 1990s, through to the semiotic rejections and reclamations of words like ‘tiger’ and ‘jungle’ played out in the national press through the 1990s. This chapter also concludes on Ruhuna National Park by emphasizing its implication as a site of nature irreducibly connected with the political geography of Sri Lanka's ethnicized politics of nationhood.

Keywords:   Ruhuna, Yala, militarization, checkpoint, Tamil Tigers, politics, tigers, jungle, pilgrims, Kataragama

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