Saturday, March 11, 2006

A family affair

Last Tuesday evening, the School of International Service sponsored an event to present and discuss my book, Paradise Poisoned . There were members of the Sri Lankan community in the audience along with graduate students who were familiar with my work. Most knew me and knew about the subject. I hoped this might be an opportunity for Anderson Hall students to come and see what I do when not cooking dinner or distributing candy during fire alarm evacuations (there was one last night, incidentally.) Sadly none came.

But it was a rewarding experience to share my book with friends and colleagues in the AU community. The discussants, too, were an Ambassador and an former Ambassador whom I knew well – for more than 15 years, in fact. So while the discussion focused on my book’s scholarship, it reflected some understanding of the context from which it emerged.

I sometimes describe Sri Lankan scholarship as a human scale activity, contrasting it with – say – Indian or Chinese scholarship. If I go to an event or social gathering in DC or in Sri Lanka I will likely know more than half of the individuals present. Obviously a close community such as this, like the small community of Leeds Church of which I have written, has its down side. We know a lot about each other. But in a fast paced, technology driven world, the positive contributions to my life of such communities far outweigh the negatives.

All family affairs have their pathologies, manifest and latent, but the world would be a sterile and lonely place without them.


Post a Comment

<< Home