Urban geographies of home and homemaking in pandemic times: gendered experiences of dispossession and ethical-life claiming in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Funding period: 15 October 2021 – 15 July 2022
Type of funding: International Fellowship
Dr. Asha Abeyasekera is a senior lecturer – Gender and Women’s Studies – at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo. She obtained her PhD in International Development and Anthropology from the University of Bath in 2013.
She’s the co-lead researcher for the GCRF funded multi-country study ‘Navigating the grid in the “world-class city”: poverty, gender, and access to services in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka’. She is also the lead researcher for Sri Lanka on a multi-country study on ‘Honour, shame, and, child protection’ conducted in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Uganda, and South Africa.
Drawing on ethnography and life-history narratives, her research investigates how gender, class, and ethno-religious identities shape the moral self in contemporary urban South Asia. Her current research focuses on cross-cultural experiences of mental health and wellbeing, and women’s labour in homemaking and household survival.
As a USF International Fellow, Dr. Abeyasekera will spend nine months with Prof. Katherine Brickell at the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research writing will focus on the everyday lives of poor women living in urban working-class neighbourhoods in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It traces their gendered experiences of contending with eviction and precarity in the wake of the state’s aspirations to make Colombo a ‘world-class city’ and, more immediately, in the midst of the devastating consequences of COVID-19 on urban livelihoods, schooling, and health.