Professor F.N.S. De Mel

Professor F.N.S. De Mel


Qualifications :

  • Ph.D in English, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
  • MA University of Peradeniya
  • BA (English Hons), University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

Teaching areas :

Cultural, Postcolonial, Gender, Performance and Film Studies

Editorial Review Boards

2007 to date: Journal of Women’s History, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, U.S.A.



  1. 2007: Militarizing Sri Lanka: Popular Culture, Memory and Narrative in the Sri Lankan Armed Conflict, Los Angeles, London, Delhi, Singapore, Sage
  2. 2001: Women and the Nation’s Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in 20th Century Sri Lanka, New Delhi, Kali for Women & Lanham, Rowman and Littlefield

Edited Volumes

  1. 01. 2012: (Co-editor with JayadevaUyangoda), Re-framing Democracy: Perspectives on the Cultures of Inclusion and Exclusion in Sri Lanka, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association
  2. 2009: (Principal Editor) After the Waves: The Impact of the Tsunami on Women in Sri Lanka, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association
  3. 2007: (Principal Editor) At the Cutting Edge: Essays in Honour of KumariJayawardena, New Delhi, Women Unlimited
  4. 2005: (Co-editor with Robert Crusz), Bearing Witness: Women’s Experiences of Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka, Kelaniya& the Hague, Tulana Media Unit & the International Institute of Social History
  5. 2002: (Principal Editor) Writing an Inheritance: Women’s Writing in Sri Lanka 1860-1948, Colombo, Women’s Education Research Center
  6. 1995: (Editor), Essays on Sri Lankan Poetry in English, Colombo, English Association of Sri Lanka


  1. Forthcoming:‘Cultures of Justice and Public Reasoning in Post-War Sri Lanka:Witnessing the LLRC,’ Colombo: ICES
  2. 2007: Marketing War, Marketing Peace, (in Sinhala) Colombo, International Center for Ethnic Studies
  3. 2006: (with KanchanaRuwanpura) Gendering the Tsunami: Women’s Experiences from Sri Lanka, Report, Colombo, International Center for Ethnic Studies

Book Introductions

  1. 2009: ‘ The Production of Disaster: The Impact of the Tsunami on Women in Sri Lanka,’ in After the Waves: The Impact of the Tsunami on Women in Sri Lanka, (eds.) Neloufer de Mel, KanchanaRuwanpura, GameelaSamarasinghe, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp.3-16
  2. 2007: ‘Affirmations at the Cutting Edge: Feminist Debates and Key Texts,’ in At the Cutting Edge: Essays in honour of KumariJayawardena, (eds.) Neloufer de Mel &SelvyThiruchandran, New Delhi, Women Unlimited, pp. xv – xxxvi
  3. 2002: (co-author) ‘Tracing a Genealogy: Introduction,’ in Writing an Inheritance: Women’s Writing in Sri Lanka 1860-1948, Colombo, Women’s Education Research Centre, pp. 3- 57
  4. 2002: ‘Complex Journeys,’ Foreword to Ruwanthie de Chickera, Middle of Silence, Colombo, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.
  5. 2001: ‘The Half-Truths of Classification: The Wooden Dolls and the Census,” Karoor, The Wooden Dolls, Colombo, Asian Film Centre, pp. 2-11.

Book Chapters

  1. 2012: ‘Borders, Brokers and the State Effect: State-Social Relations in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone,’ in JayadevaUyangoda and Neloufer de Mel (eds.) Re-framingDemocracy: Perspectives on the Cultures of Inclusion and Exclusion in Sri Lanka, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association
  2. 2012: ‘Post-Tsunami Resettlements: State-Gender Relations in Batticoloa,’ in JayadevaUyangoda and Neloufer de Mel (eds.) Re-framing Democracy: Perspectives on the Cultures of Inclusion and Exclusion in Sri Lanka, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association
  3. 2012: (Principal author, with K. Samuel & C.K. Soysa) ‘Ethno-political Conflict in Sri Lanka: Trajectories and Transformations,’ Dan Landis and Rosita Albert (eds.) Handbook of Ethno-Political Conflict, New York, Springer
  4. 2005: ‘Sri Lanka: Mother Politics and Women’s Politics,’ Baksh, Etchart, Onubogu, Johnson (eds.),Gender Mainstreaming in Conflict Transformation, London, Commonwealth Secretariat, pp. 191-204
  5. 2004:‘Journalism and its Domain: Advertising, Globalization and Gender,’ Gender and Media, Colombo, Journalism unit, University of Colombo, pp. 53-59.
  6. 2003: ‘Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Woman Militant in the Interregnum,’ Giles, de Alwis, Klein, Silva (eds.) Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones, Toronto, Between the Lines, pp. 55-73.
  7. 1999: `African Theatre in Sri Lanka: Cross-Cultural Transformations,’ Helen Gilbert (ed.) (Post)Colonial Stages: Critical and Creative Views on Drama, Theatre and Performance,Hebden Bridge, Dangaroo Press, pp. 124-135.
  8. 1998: `Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Woman Militant in the Interregnum,’ Michael Roberts (ed.) Sri Lanka. Collective Identities Revisited Vol.2, Colombo, Marga, pp.199-220.
  9. 1996: `Static signifiers?: Metaphors of Women in Sri Lankan War Poetry,’ KumariJayawardena&Malathi de Alwis (eds.) Embodied Violence: Communalising Women’s Sexuality in South Asia, New Delhi, Kali for Women, pp.168-189.
  10. 1996: `Caliban or Crusoe?: Straddling the Paradigms of “Post-Colonial” Identity: Derek Walcott and Jean Arasanayagam,’ Wolfgang Zach & K. Goodwin (eds.) Nationalism vs Internationalism: (Inter)National Dimensions of Literatures in English, Tubingen, G.Narr, pp. 133-43.
  11. 1995: `Mediating Origins: MoyezVassanji and the Discursivities of Migrant Identity,’ AbdulrazakGurnah (ed.) Essays on African Writing Vol.2, London, Heinemann, pp. 159 – 177.

Essays in Peer Reviewed Journals

  1. 2009: ‘Gendering the New Security Paradigm in Sri Lanka,’ International Development Studies Bulletin 40 no. 2, London, Routledge, pp. 36-43
  2. 2008: ‘Prohibited Desires: The Military-Apparel Nexus and its Politics of Sexuality in the Sinhala Language Cinema,’ Asian Cinema Vol. 19 no. 2, pp.46-60
  3. 2007: ‘Between the War and the Sea: Critical Events, Contiguities and Feminist Domains,’
  4. Intervention: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 9 no. 2, London, Francis & Taylor, pp. 238-254
  5. 2004:‘Staging Pain: Representation, the Disabled Soldier and the Butterflies Theatre of Sri Lanka,’ The Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities, vol. 29 & 30, nos.1 & 2, pp. 111-129.
  6. 2004: ‘Body Politics: (Re)Cognising the Female Suicide Bomber in Sri Lanka,’ Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 11 no. 1, New Delhi, Sage, pp.75-93
  7. 2002: ‘Fractured Narratives, Totalizing Violence: Notes on Women in Conflict – Sri Lanka and Pakistan,’ in Wendy Harcourt (ed.), Place, Politics and Justice: Women negotiating globalization, Development 45 no.1, New Delhi, Sage, pp.99-104.
  8. 1999: ‘Fixing Uncertainties: Producing “National” Culture in an Era of Globalization – The Terrain of Sexuality in Sri Lanka,’ Asian Women 8, Research Institute of Asian Women, The Sookmyung University, South Korea, pp. 87-105.
  9. 1994: `Woman as Gendered Subject and Other Discourses in Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction in English,’ Kunapipi vol. xvi no. 1 (Special Issue on Post-Colonial Women’s Writing), Aarhus, University of Aarhus, pp. 242-55.
  10. 1993: `Myth as History: Wole Soyinka’s `A Dance of the Forests’,’ Wasafiri18, London, Association for the teaching of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures, Autumn. pp. 27-33.

Keynote/ Plenary Addresses

  1. 2012: ‘A Different Habit: Gender and the Work of the Sisters of St. Margaret,’ (On Gender and Missionary Education in Ceylon), Bishop’s College Founder’s Day, Colombo
  2. 2010: ‘Re-framing Comparativism for Post-War Sri Lanka,’ South Asia Studies Feminist Pre-Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Recent Conference Presentations

  1. 2011: ‘Post-War Order and Citizenship in Sri Lanka : Notes on a Politics of Transition,’ conference on ‘Aftershocks: Legacies of Conflict,’ University of Texas School of Law & Bernard and AudreRapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, U.S.A.
  2. 2010: ‘Citizenship and Post-War Order: Cross-Currents of State, Trans/Nation, Gender and Development, Civilians and Citizenship,’ ‘Ethnographic and Political Economy Perspectives on Civil War in South Asia’, Dept. of Sociology, University of Delhi, India
  3. 2010: Panelist, ‘Conflict, Masculinities and Responses to Gender-based Violence Prevention,’ Bangkok, UNDP &Aakar
  4. 2009: Panelist on ‘Masculinities’, Cross-Regional Feminist Dialogue on Gender, Development and Culture, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
  5. 2009: ‘Citizenship and Post-War Order: Locating Women, Religion, Cross-Currents,’ Conference on Women, Religion, Globalization, Yale University, U.S.A.

Dictionary Entries

  1. 2008 & 2005: Entry on ‘The Years of Terror’ in PremPoddar& David Johnson (eds.) A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 539-40

Review Essays

  1. 2012: ‘Reforming the Sri Lankan State: The Implications of its ‘Effect,’ Vagdevi: Journal of Religious Reflection 6, no. 11, pp. 83-90
  2. 2011: ‘Militarization and its Legacies,’ Vagdevi: Journal of Religious Reflection 5 no.1, pp.17-24
  3. 2010: ‘Framing Sri Lanka’ (Review essay on the inaugural volume of Nethra, published by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies), Polity 5 no 5, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp.26-9.
  4. 2008: ‘Mourning Sri Lanka: The Writer as Witness (Review of Like Myth & Mother by SumathySivamohan) Himal 21 no. 7, Kathmandu, pp.76-77.
  5. 2007: ‘Critical Premises: The Nation and its Borders in Contemporary Sri Lankan Literature in English,’ (Review of Writing Sri Lanka by Minoli Salgado) Polity 4 no. 3, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp. 21-5.
  6. 2005:‘The labours of peace: feminist peace activism and agendas for the future,’ review of Peace Work: Women, Armed Conflict and Negotiation, (ed) RadhikaCoomaraswamy&DilrukshiFonseka, New Delhi, Women Unlimited, in Bayan, vol. 1V, September, Lahore, Simorgh, pp.96-9.
  7. 2004: ‘Survival in the Jungle: Gender, Militaries and Nihal Silva’s The Road from Elephant Pass,’ Options 35, no.3, Colombo, Women & Media Collective, pp. 14-16.
  8. 2002: ‘The cinematic Suicidal Body and its Politics,’ Robert Crusz (ed.) Cinesith No. 2, Colombo, Asian Film Center, pp.45-48.
  9. 2001: ‘Theatre and the State’: Review of “Sri Lankan Theatre in the Time of Terror” by RanjiniObeysekera, Pravada7 no. 7, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp.25-27
  10. 1997: (with RamaniMuttetuwegama) ‘Sisters in Arms: The EksathKanthaPeramuna,’ Pravada 4, nos.10 & 11, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp.22-26.
  11. 1993: ‘Stage Echoes: Tropes of Nationalism in the Modern Sinhala Theatre’, The Thatched Patio 6 no. 2, Colombo, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, pp.8-28.
  12. 1993: Review of RomeshGunasekera’sMonkfish Moon, Wasifiri17, London, Association for Teaching of African, Caribbean, Asian Literatures, pp. 54-55.
  13. 1991: ‘Nadine Gordimer: Notes on a White Writer’s Burden,’ Pravada 1 no. 1, Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, pp. 23-27.


  1. 1997: (with MaithreeWickramasinghe) Training Manual on Rehabilitating Women through Non-Traditional Education in Sri Lanka, for World University Services Canada