Historical memory, reimagining the present: The spatial politics of monuments in Thailand and Sri Lanka

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Abstract

We explore the contested politics of space and memorialization in Thailand and Sri Lanka, arguing that when monuments and sites embrace several, and often opposing memories, the question of whose histories are remembered and openly shared or marginalized and excluded becomes critical for understanding social dynamics and political change. Here, we consider how constructed narratives and histories (what is remembered and who is forgotten) have been publicly challenged, contested, and sometimes (re-)negotiated. Of significance in the cultural mediation of memory and monuments are the competing claims to equitable representation and the invariable memorialization of certain forms of representation. A fundamental feature of religio-political ultra-royalism in Thailand and ethno-Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka is that the memorialization of either contesting democratic discourses or of the Tamil minority respectively, is marginalized. In this article, we assert the ethical imperative to continually intervene and challenge the crisis of nationalist (re)presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-87
Number of pages22
JournalUniversity of Colombo Review
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Memorialization
  • Freud
  • Buddhism
  • democracy
  • nationalism
  • Thailand
  • Sri Lanka
  • consciousness
  • ontological
  • Foucault

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