Wednesday 18. February 2015

”Dissident Voices in Sri Lanka” in the Lunch Lecture

It is not so often that an inhabitant of Ísafjörður defends her PhD, but this happened last November, when Auri Aurangasri Hinriksson defended her research work at the University of Iceland with her dissertation Dissident Voices: Sociocultural Transformations in Sri Lankan Post-Independence Novels in English. On Friday, 20.02.2015 she will be our guest at UWestfjords' Lunch lectures.

The research topic is an analysis of fourteen novels published in English during the years 1978-2005 from a post-colonial point of view. The novels all deal with virulent conflicts that followed Sri Lanka's independence: The insurgencies in the years 1971 and 1987-1989 and the thirty years of war between Sinhalese and Tamil. Novels on this topic have until now, not been analysed in such a broader context.

The main ojective of this PhD has been to find out how those novels describe the problems that followed the British colonial administration, that disrupted the social and cultural situation. When Sri Lanka got indipendence, there were lot of tensions between between different social and ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, which ended in insurgencies in the south and hostilities between the two main ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamils in the north.

The main findings are that the novels written in English in Sri Lanka during the years 1948-2012 show clearly how the British colonial administration and its methods of ruling the country disrupted the internal distribution of power and left behind unsolved social and cultural problems, which flared up violently, when the natives came into power. Most of the novels show the conflicts in a critical and often neutral way, but differ in analysing the British colonial period. The preference of language has been of eminent significance in the cultural policy in Sri Lanka. The analysed novels show a strong tendency towards compromises and peace.


Árný Aurangasri Hinriksson grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After primary school there, she learned music and languages, Japanese, German and Spanish. She worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and for Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation (FAO) for ten years. She lived for long periods in many countries like Bahrein, Iran and India because of her husband's work for UN, Danida and Norad development institutions.

She studied at the University of Andhra Pradesh/India, and graduated with a diploma in Telugu 1982. Auri moved to Iceland in 1983 and graduated from University of Iceland with a BA-degree in English in 2004 and a MA in English in 2007. She earned the teachers' licence for English language from Iceland's Teachers' University in 2005 and has been teaching in various schools.

Her husband is Þórir Guðmundur Hinriksson, who has earlier been working for the United Nations as specialist in fisheries. Their son is Neil Shiran Kanishka Þórisson, Business Scientis and Managing Director of Atvest, the Westfjords' Regional Development Agency.

UWestfjords lunch lectures are open for the public and start on Fridays at 12.10. Light refreshment will be offered. This lecture will be given in English.

On Friday, 20.02.2015 Auri Aurangasri Hinriksson will be guest at UWestfjords' Lunch lectures.
On Friday, 20.02.2015 Auri Aurangasri Hinriksson will be guest at UWestfjords' Lunch lectures.