Pathmanesan Sanmugeswaran

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  • Anthropology Ph.D. Candidate
  • Senior Lecturer (on study Leave) Department of Social Studies, the Open University of Sri Lanka
  • Anthropology
  • Social Theory
Research Interests:

Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Anthropology, University of Kentucky

M.A., Anthropology, University of Kentucky, 2017

Graduate Certificate in Social Theory, University of Kentucky, 2016

International Certificate in Applied Anthropology, University of Rome, 2010

M.A., Anthropology, University of Madras, 2005

B.A.(Hons) Sociology, University of Jaffna, 2002



My name is Sanmugeswaran Pathmanesan and I am a Cultural Anthropology Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology.  I am also a Lecturer in the Department of Social Studies at the Open University of Sri Lanka. I hold a B.A. (Hons) Degree in Sociology (2002) from the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka and an M.A. degree in Anthropology (2005) from the University of Madras, India. I joined the Open University of Sri Lanka in 2009.

My latest research interests include South Asian caste system, transnationalism, migration, internal displacement, identity, Tamil culture, Hindu temple culture, religion, temple (Hindu kovils) studies and temple politics Carnatic music and Bharathanatyam (Classical South Indian music and dance). During my stay at Jaffna in 2002, I conducted field work for my BA dissertation on “Kinship System and Its Changes in Jaffna Society: A Social Anthropological Study based on Inuvil Village”, adopting the ethnographic research tradition.

In India, I acquired research experience among the tribes of Badagas, Malayalis and Kotas of South India. For my Master’s research, I undertook an ethnographic field work in 2004-2005 among the Kotas of Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu which is on “Kinship and Social Organization among the Kotas of Sholur Kokkal of Nilgiri District of Tamil Nadu of South India”.

I taught for Sociology undergraduate program from 2005-2007 in the Department of Sociology at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka after finishing my MA and was a visiting lecturer (2006) in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Peradeniya where I taught Ethnomusicology in undergraduate program and Art and Intercultural Relations in the post-graduate program. Again, I have worked as a visiting lecturer (2013-2014) in the Department of Fine Arts, the University of Peradeniya where I taught Sri Lankan Theatre: Special Reference to Sri Lankan Traditional Tamil Theatre, Sri Lankan Tamil Theatre from Independence to present.  Also, I served as student counselor (2006-2007) at the Faculty of Arts. I also served as an academic sub-warden in the Hilda Obyesekara Hall (2006-2007). I undertook a research on the impact of war on obligations and rights of different caste groups at Inuvil village in the Jaffna Peninsula in 2006.

I was engaged in the Asia-Link project on Stereotypical Images and Cultural Differences between Europe and Asia and was privileged to undergo training in Belgium in 2006 and in Netherlands in 2007. I worked as a research assistant of the ICES (International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo) project on Diaspora, Transnationalism and Global Engagement: Tamil and Sinhala Transnational Communities and Networks in Canada and their Nexus in Sri Lanka (2007).

I completed an international certificate course on Applied Anthropology in Development Processes at the University of Rome, Italy (La Sapienza Universita Di Roma, Italia) from 2009-2010. Here I undertook research among the Sri Lankan immigrants. Basically, I have theoretical and practical learning and training in both performing arts of Bharathanatyam and Carnatic music. Interestingly, I undertook a research among the Periya Mēlam musicians at Jaffna peninsula and made a presentation at the International conference on Systematic Musicology 2010 at the University of Cambridge. Accordingly, I have the interest to do a research on Bharathanatyam, Carnatic music and Sri Lankan Tamil music culture anthropologically and ethnomusicologically.

Recently, I participated an International Visitor Leadership Program: Alternatives in Higher  Education  in  the states of Washington (District of Columbia) Pensacola  (Florida), Reno  (Nevada)  and  (Chicago)  Illinois  organized by United States Department of State, Bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Washington, D.C., U.S.A funded by the Department of State, U.S.A from 08th-26th April, 2013

Graduate Training

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky (2014-)

Selected Publications: 

"The Role of Communication Strategy in Tribal Development Research: The Case of Malayali Tribal Community in Tamil Nadu, South India, VISTAS- Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Open University of Sri Lanka, Volume-10, December 2016, ISSN 1391-7943

"Cosmopolitanism, Migration, and Transnationalism: An Interview with Nina Glick Schiller" (Co-author with Lauren Copeland and Agata Grzelczak), disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, University of Kentucky, Vol-25, May 2016, Article-17, pp.181-192

"Ethnographic Research Methods, Social Science Research Methods Block 1 and 2, Lesson-9, Colombo: The Open University of Sri Lanka, 2016, ISBN: 978-955-23-1596-1

 "Conservation and Development", Environmental Communication, Block-1, Colombo: The Open University of Sri Lanka, 2015, ISBN: 978-955-23-1514-5.

“Peasant Production and Rural Development”, Understanding Sri Lankan Society and Culture, Lesson-9, Module-1, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, 2014, ISBN: 978-955-23-1474-2.

“Thavil Master of V.Thadchinãmurthy: An Ethnomusicological Analysis of the Contribution of a Tamil Musician”, Under Construction: Trans- and Interdisciplinary Routes in Music Research, Wewers, Julia / Seifert, Uwe (Ed) Proceedings of SysMus 11, Cologne 2011, epOs-Music, Osnabrück 2012, 269 Seiten ISBN 978-3-940255-32-7, ISBN 978-3-940255-33-4

“Sri Lankan Immigrants in the City of Rome: A Sociological Study on Migration and Livelihood Nexus”,  The International Journal’s  Research Journal of Social Science and Management, Singapore, Volume-1, Number-12, April 2012, pp 32-39 Old ISSN- 2010-257X, New ISSN-2251-1571, Available at

“Ethnic conflict, Displacement, and Poverty in Sri Lanka: A Sociological Investigation”   VISTAS- Journal of Humanities and  Social  Sciences, The Open University of Sri Lanka, 2011, ISSN 1391-7943.

“A Social Anthropological Analysis of A ‘Temple-Centered’ Community: Jaffna in  Northern Sri Lanka”, Proceedings of the Full papers, Annual Research Conference,  the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, 2010, ISBN: 978-955-0585-01-04.

“Migration as  a  Livelihood Option  of  the  Poor: A Study of  the  Sri Lankan Immigrants in  the  City of Rome”,  Immigrants in Rome:  Case Studies of selected Immigrant communities and Issues prepared by graduates of the 2nd   International  Course on Applied  Anthropology  in  Development Processes, Paolo Palmeri (ed), published by Nuova Cultura, Roma, 2010, ISBN:9788861344402




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