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Going Nowhere Together: Masculinity and Immobility at a Sri Lankan Rickshaw Stand

Presented by Daniel Dillon, PhD Candidate, Dept of Asian Studies

"Ain't I am man!?" Razwi exclaimed in frustration one day at the railway station rickshaw in Jaffna.“I am not a bomb! Not a terrorist!” he continued. The subsequent conversation among drivers, sit- ting in the open space of the rickshaw stand just outside, was an insightful, pained examination of their marginalization as low-caste, low-class (and in Razwi’s case Muslim) young Tamil men in postwar Jaffna, a town much altered by the history of Sri Lanka’s 35-year civil war.

Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic research conducted in 2016 and 2018, I argue that these men are conscious of the many misperceptions of them and endeavor to manage, and in some cases counter, these stereotypes. At the core of these efforts are common notions of global and Tam- il manliness that drivers attempt to leverage toward greater respectability and, therefore, economic opportunity. These performances of respectable masculinity are both embodied in their physical beings and inscribed on their rickshaws.

My dissertation examines these attempts to marshal masculinity, arguing that while drivers are keenly attuned to the affective and political contours of the postwar moment they are equally trapped within these moments and performances, unable to realize their respectable masculine selves.

Friday, May 3, 2019 at 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Garrison Hall (GAR), 1.102
128 INNER CAMPUS DR , Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Academics

Target Audience

Students, Faculty

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