My primary interests are identity politics, everyday life under colonialism and the relationship between state and society in modern South Asia. I have pursued these interests through investigation into such diverse themes as politics of dress, civil society, citizens and migrants, and objects of consumption. Trained as a historian, I have written on late colonial and modern Sri Lanka, using a variety of archives. In the last few years, my work has moved from a focus on national history albeit from a non-state perspective to an approach that contests the nation as a frame and attempts to capture other dimensions of belonging which might be best encapsulated in the term ‘‘postnational’’. My current research addresses the genre of minor histories through studies of enslaved people and migrants in the Indian Ocean world. My next book, Slave in a Palanquin: Traces of slavery on an Indian Ocean Island will be out in 2020 with Columbia University Press. In addition to my research and teaching I intervene regularly in public debates and contribute essays and op.eds to Opendemocracy, the Wall Street Journal.
Nira Wickramasinghe is Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.