Perera, Dilshanie

Grad Status: 
First Year Cohort

I am interested in post-war transformations of urban space, how conflict inheres in built environments, the politics and aesthetics of infrastructure, militarism outside conventional wartime categories, and how all of this affects sociality within cities. My research focuses on Colombo, Sri Lanka, a city undergoing numerous spatial and social changes in the wake of a three-decade civil war. In asking how the city is being remade materially, imaginatively, and in terms of everyday practices, I seek to understand how different actors vie to bring their visions of the city into being. What kinds of pasts do they call upon to conceptualize the city’s future and in what ways do long-standing tensions reconfigure and endure? Additionally, I aim to explore the role the built environment plays in debates about land-use, foreign investment and development, ethnicity and religion, and military intervention. Before arriving at Stanford, I received my B.A. in International Studies from the University of Chicago and M.A. in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. I also worked as a writer and reporter for a small weekly newspaper in New Jersey.