This book is the first compilation of the experiences of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Australia. It explores the theme of home—from what is left behind to what is brought or (re)created in a new space—and all the complex processes that ensue as a result of leaving a land defined by conflict. The context of the book is unique since it focuses on the ten-year period since the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009. Although the war has officially come to an end, conflict continues in diverse and insidious forms, which we present from the point of view of those who have left Sri Lanka.
The multidisciplinary nature of the book means that various aspects of Sri Lankan Tamil experiences are documented including trauma, violence, resettlement, political action, cultural and religious heritage, and intergenerational transmission. This book draws on qualitative methods from the fields of history, geography, sociology, sociolinguistics, psychology and psychiatry. Methodological enquiries range from oral histories and in-depth interviews to ethnography and self-reflexive accounts. To complement these academic chapters, creative contributions by prominent Sri Lankan artists in Australia seek to provide personalised and alternative interpretations on the theme of home. These include works from playwrights, novelists and community arts practitioners who also identify as human rights activists.
Niro Kandasamy completed her doctorate at the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her dissertation examines the role of memory in the life stories of young Sri Lankan Tamil people resettled in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s.
Nirukshi Perera received her doctorate in Linguistics from Monash University in 2017. Her thesis on language practices in a Tamil Hindu temple in Australia received the 2018 Australian Linguistics Society/Applied Linguistics Association Michael Clyne prize for the best thesis on immigrant bilingualism and language contact.
Charishma Ratnam is a doctoral researcher in Human Geography at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her research interests are in cultural geography, home-making and geographies of memory and identity.