Work in progress

Special issue

Together with a number of like-minded scholars working on South Asia, I am putting together a special issue on public authority and de facto sovereignty in South Asia. The provisional title is ‘The politics of order and disturbance: Public authority, sovereignty and violent contestation in South Asia’ and it brings together some fascinating work from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and different parts of India. Alongside my role as coordinator of this effort (and the writing of the introduction), I am contributing with an article under the working title: 'Political schizophrenia: Recalibrating public authority in post-war Trincomalee, Sri Lanka'.

Co-authored book on religion and conflict

Consolidating an effort that has spanned several years, my co-authors an I are in the process of finalizing a book on questions of religion and conflict in Sri Lanka’s formerly war-torn east. This should see the light in 2014 under the following reference:

Spencer, Jonathan, Jonathan Goodhand, Shahul Hasbullah, Bart Klem, Benedikt Korf and Tudor Silva (forthcoming) Checkpoint, Temple, Church and Mosque: A Collaborative Ethnography of War and Peace. London: Pluto.

Developing an interest in Indonesia

Building on my earlier work with Islamic institutes of higher learning (a NUFFIC-funded project on mediation), I am further developing my interest in Indonesia. I am fascinated by this diverse archipelago and the ways it is undergoing a transition from a repressive centralised state to relatively peaceful and liberal (given the circumstances) democratic society. I also really like the language and I find it interesting to learn about a country (and region) that is somehow completely different and still not entirely dissimilar to my main country (and region) of specialization: Sri Lanka (and South Asia).

Sri Lanka roundtable

In collaboration with a number of scholars from around Europe, I have played a leading role in creating what is now known as the ‘Sri Lanka roundtable’. This is a small and informal event where (mostly European) academics with a field-work-based interest in Sri Lanka meet to present new work and exchanges ideas. It takes place about once every 1.5 years. For more information, please contact me.

Panels at seminars

Getting together with researchers working on similar issues is the most inspiring and productive way of doing social science. I co-organise panels at some of the larger academic conferences (ECSAS 2012 Lisbon; ECSAS 2014 Zurich), but also through smaller, informal events where 10-15 people get together for a day or two to discuss literature, concepts, research findings and publication strategies.