Memory and War: Tamil Women’s Experiences of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

TitleMemory and War: Tamil Women’s Experiences of Sri Lanka’s Civil War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKandasamy, Niro
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Date Published12/2018

This article explores how Tamil women in Australia reconstruct memories of Sri Lanka’s war through postmemory and personal experiences. Tamil women’s understandings of war are important for unravelling multiple sites of marginalization across social and political landscapes that challenge dominant perspectives of being Tamil-Australian. The article draws on sixteen in-depth interviews with Tamil women resettled in Australia as children in the 1980s and 1990s, foregrounding their unique position as part of a war generation. It shows that Tamil women’s experiences of political engagement during the final stages of war were motivated by memories of individual and collective sufferings. However, loss, exclusion and forced migration characterize their ambivalent connections to homeland. Not always tied to dominant memories of war, victimhood, and subordination, the article concludes that each Tamil woman represents ongoing resistances, survival, and renegotiations of Tamil diasporic experiences of war.

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