Department of English

Faculty of Arts - University of Peradeniya


Prof. Arjuna Parakrama

Chair Professor of English
B.A. (Hons), English, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1981)
M. A. English, University of Georgia, USA (1985)
Ph. D. [Culture Studies Programme], University of Pittsburgh, USA (1990)

Attorney-at-Law (Sri Lanka): First & Second Years completed (2005)

+94 777 712 264 [Mobile] / +94 81 239 2502 [Office]

View CV

Educational Qualifications:

  • B.A. (Hons), English, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1981)
  • M. A. English, University of Georgia, USA (1985)
  • Ph. D. [Culture Studies Programme], University of Pittsburgh, USA (1990)

  • Attorney-at-Law (Sri Lanka): First & Second Years completed (2005)

Books & Monographs

  • Member Editorial Team, Keywords for Today, Oxford University Press, [to be published in 2018]
  • Men Who Matter and Other Matters: The Collected Essays of D B I P Siriwardhana [edited with a critical introduction] (in Sinhala and English) in press.
  • Social Cleaving: Resistance and Loss within a Bereaved Culture Colombo: Katha Publishers, 2004. [monograph on conflict-related collective psychosocial trauma]
  • Collected Poems, Colombo: Gunaratne, 2002
  • Identity in Crisis or Crisis as Identity: Notes to the Margins of this War, Newton Gunasinghe Memorial Lecture 1998: December 1998 [Monograph].
  • De-Hegemonizing Language Standards: Learning from (Post) Colonial Englishes about “English”, London: Macmillan, 1995
  • Language & Rebellion: Discursive Unities and the Possibility of Protest, London: Katha, 1990.

Editorial and Collaborative Work

  • Strategic Plan: Transparency Maldives, March 2013, prepared on the basis of stakeholder consultations, literature review and staff feedback.
  • Report on AusAID’s Projects in Sri Lanka’s Conflict Areas, 2013. Co-authored with Donna Holden and Ian Kidd.
  • English in Sri Lanka: Ceylon English, Lankan English, Sri Lankan English [coedited with Siromi Fernando and Manique Gunasekere] Colombo, 2012.
  • Chief Editor and Contributor, National Integrity Study Report on Sri Lanka 2010 Transparency International Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2011
  • Sri Lanka Governance Report 2009, Transparency International Sri Lanka. Co-Editor and Contributor of article on post-conflict scenario in the north and east regions of Sri Lanka.
  • TEC Local and National Capacities Evaluation, Regional Report covering Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand, May 2006 [co-author with Betty Scheper and Smruti Patel].1998 - 2000 1987/88 1985 Includes four separate country studies and detailed claimholder survey reports (involving over 1000 respondents) for Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
  • Evaluation Report on Oxfam Australia’s Tsunami Response in India and Sri Lanka during the First Six Months, July 2005
  • HURIST Reports on Macedonia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (2004/05) co-authored.
  • Report on Current Efforts to Facilitate Democratic and Pluralist Values Through Primary & Secondary Education in Sri Lanka SIDA Consultancy (with 3 others), April 2001
  • A Study of Institutional Development Promoted by Norwegian Non-Governmental Organisations [Country Study of Sri Lanka] Dec.1997
  • Editor, University of Colombo Review, Vol 11 (1998), with Introduction.
  • Final Report of Election-Related Violence during Local Government Election Campaign (Feb 5th – March 21st 1997) and Presidential Election 1999, for Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Colombo: 1997.
  • “The Rise of Ethnic Literatures in the US and the development of a Multicultural Society” joint paper with Dr. Lilamani de Silva, Proceedings of American Studies Seminar [Colombo: 1998]


  • Co-Author, GCE Advanced Level General English, Vol I & II [for use in all schools in Sri Lanka at the university entrance level], Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka, 2000. Revised in 2001.

Articles & Chapters in Books

  • Keywords Seminar, Jesus College, Cambridge, 2016 & 2017: Presentation of core concepts and keywords, “Black”, “Sustainability”, “Native”, “Muslim”, “Karma” and “Indigenous” which will be published in the Keywords Volume in 2018.
  • “Borrowed Lives Diverge Again: the Personas of Pundit, Guru and Swami in Different Englishes Today” Presentation at Keywords Conference, University of Pittsburgh, Jan 26, 2013 [to be published on Keywords website].
  • “The Malchemy of English in Sri Lanka: Reinforcing Extra-Linguistic Value and Inequality” in The English Language as Hydra, 2012 eds. Vaughan Rapatahana & Pauline Bunce
  • “Perennial Empire: Its Imagined Ends Now Ground the Rhetorical Means of Exclusion in Sri Lanka” in Film and the End of Empire eds. Grieveson and MacCabe, London: Macmilllan 2012
  • “Assuring IneQuality of Opportunity and Performance: Inappropriate Northern Norms Mask Southern Inadequacies” Chapter in Eds. Koo Yew Lie, Sarjit Kaur and Morshidi Sirat Quality Assurance and University Rankings in the Asia Pacific: Country and Institutional Contexts, Universiti Sains Malaysia Press 2011.
  • “English and Equity in Sri Lanka: Achievements, Setbacks, Challenges” Plenary Paper at Sri Lanka English Language Teachers’ Association Biennial International Conference 2010, October 17, 2010 [to be published in Proceedings]
  • “Teaching me your language, again: the cultural politics of English in Sri Lanka” Paper presented at National University of Singapore Conference Politics of English in Asia:
  • Language Politics and Cultural Expression 05 August 2009. [Publication forthcoming]
  • “Broadening Standards and Benefiting from Bilingualism in English Language Education” Plenary Paper presented at 2009 Malaysian English Language Teachers’ Association (MELTA) Conference in Johor Bahru on 11 June 2009 [Abstract published].
  • “The real power behind the throne: a discourse study of the role of student unions in university life” Paper presented at Peradeniya University Research Sessions (PURSE) on 18 Dec 2008 [Abstract published in Proceedings, Vol 13, Part 1, p. 61-2].
  • “Notes on Sentinel Arrengas and Self-Righteous Activists” in The Nature of Sri Lanka Colombo: Wildlight, 2008.
  • The Relationship between Poverty, Conflict and Human Rights: A three-country study of Guatemala, Liberia and Nepal, co-authored with Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Juan Alberto Fuentes- Knight, 2007
  • “Bridging Minding the Gaps: Translation & the Oppression of Pedagogy” Keynote Lecture, International Translation Conference, Peradeniya, August 13, 2006 [to be published]
  • “Applied Linguistics: Footnotes on an Impowerished Discourse” Main Plenary Lecture, SLELTA International Conference, Colombo, August 2, 2006 [to be published]
  • “The Enabling Double Miss: (Mis)Translation as The Norm of Postcolonial (Mis)Communication” Keynote Lecture, International Translation Conference, Colombo: 2004 [in press]
  • “Baduth Unge, Naduth Unge: The Tools and Rules are Theirs – Some Thoughts on the Language of Privilege and the Privilege of Language” Focus Paper, Fourth International Conference on World Englishes, Singapore, December 1997. [published as monograph in 2002]
  • Two Poems in Poetry International 7/8 [2003-4], Special Double Issue Featuring English Language Poetry from Around the World
  • “Means Without End: Emergency Humanitarian Assistance in Sri Lanka” Chapter in Dying Like Flies: Local Organizations in Humanitarian Emergencies, ed. Ian Smillie, Humanitarianism and War Project, Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, Brown University, Kumarian Press: 2001.
  • “Adding Injury to Insult: Blasphemous Claims for the Belaboured Nativity of these Other Englishes” Review Essay, of The Native Speaker: Multilingual Perspectives, Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 1999, Sage (New Delhi, California & London).
  • “Indexing Multiple Marginality for Poorest-Specific Programming” AWARE Position Paper 9AP/1999, December 1999.
  • “Talking, my dear chap, or the culture generally: The devastated words of Lakdasa Wikkramasingha” in Essays on Sri Lankan Poetry in English, Colombo 1995.
  • “The Art of (w)riting oneself out of danger”, a review of James Fenton’s poetry, in Critical Quarterly, Vol 36 No: 2, Summer 1994.
  • Media Monitor 1 “Monitoring of Newspapers Published in Sri Lanka”. Colombo: June 1997.
  • Media Monitor 2 “Hegemony at Home: Racism, Sexism and the Media in Sri Lanka”, Dec.1997.
  • Freedom of Expression component in the Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka for 1994
  • Regular Arts/Culture column and Special Reports (on Human Rights issues, education,corruption, the economy etc.) for Counterpoint monthly magazine (1993 – 1996)

Memberships and Awards:

  • Fulbright New Century Scholar (2007/8)
  • Member, Raymond Williams’ Keywords revision panel convened at Jesus College, Cambridge University (July 2007 onwards)
  • Member, Editorial Board, PALA [Anthology of American Literature for Asian Students], chaired by Professor Paul Lauter (Trinity College) (1999 to date)
  • Building Communities of Peace: Working Towards the Subaltern Resolution of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” US Institute of Peace (2001/2002)
  • Guggenheim Research Grant, “Saturated with Loss: The Bereaved Sexualities of Sri Lanka’s Prolonged War” (2001/2002)
  • Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics & International Affairs (2000/2001)
  • Senior Fellowship, United States Institute of Peace, Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace (1991/2000)
  • NARESA, Sri Lanka (Now National Science Foundation) Sri Lanka, Research Grant RG/98/SS/01: “Approaches to text and context in English language learning & teaching in Sri Lanka as a means of re-orienting English towards new social goals and realities” (1998-2000)
  • Culture Studies Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, USA (1987/88)
  • America Academy of Poets, Award for Poetry, University of Georgia (1985)
  • Secretary, Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) 2016 Nov to date
  • President, Peradeniya Arts Faculty Teachers’ Association (PAFTA) 2016 to date
  • Member, Advisory Committee on the Presidential Initiative to steer Sri Lanka towards a Trilingual Society (to prepare 10-year Master Plan) 2010 - 2011
  • President, Sri Lanka English Language Teachers’ Association (SLELTA) 2008 - 2010 Member, English Advisory Committee, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka 2000 – 2001, 2005
  • Member, Curriculum Development Panel, Advanced Level English, Presidential Task Force on Education 1999
  • Member, Border Village Citizens Commission, Sri Lanka 1999
  • Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka 1999 to 2003
  • Member, Advisory Committee, Centre for the Study of Human Rights 1993/96
  • Member, Standing Committee for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka 1996/97
  • Chair, Committee of Heads, English Language Teaching Units, Sri Lanka 1996
  • Acting President, Sri Lanka Association for Commonwealth Language & Literary Studies 1995/96
  • Editor in Chief, University of Colombo Review 1997 to 1999
  • Editor, Phoenix, Journal of the Sri Lanka Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language 1997/98
  • Vice President, Federation of University Teachers’ Associations, Sri Lanka 1995/96
  • Director, Environmental Foundation Limited 1992/95
  • Committee Member, March for Conservation, Sri Lanka 1994 to 1997