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Aimée is a sociocultural anthropologist of Sri Lanka with interests in identification and belonging, heritage politics, and neoliberal development processes. Her dissertation project stems from an abiding concern with the ways in which ethnicity, caste, nationalism and related identity categories are reproduced in daily life. It is grounded in long-term ethnographic research in two government-designated “traditional handicraft villages” transformed by the consequences of rural to urban migration, the contraction of rural agricultural economies, and the transnational flow of mostly women migrant laborers. Attending to points of articulation between the promises and hazards of an emergent market economy, nationalist investments in handicrafts, and egalitarian religious and political ideologies, it examines contradictions found at the nexus of caste and heritage in contemporary Sri Lanka.
Aimée has been visiting and conducting anthropological research in Sri Lanka since 2005. Originally from Maryland, she completed a BA in psychology at Bowdoin College in 2005 and an MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago in 2007. Her MA Thesis, “Nation-Building in Web Presentation: The Online Movement for Tamil Eelam,” examined the electronically-mediated strategies by which Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sought to garner nationalist sentiment among Sri Lankans in diaspora.
The grants and fellowships that have supported her research and training at Cornell include: Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships (South Asia), Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies Dissertation Planning Grant, The Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant.
Sri Lanka, sociocultural anthropology, heritage, identification, neoliberalism