1st Maanudam Research Conference – 2022

The 1stMaanudam Research Conference (MRC) organized under the sphere of the Jaffna University  International Research Conference (JUICE) was held on the 29th and 30th of July 2022. The Conference was hosted by the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna. 

To mark the centenary anniversary of the founding of Humanities and Social Sciences education in Sri Lanka, “One Hundred Years of Humanities and Social Sciences Education: Trajectories, Continuities, and Discontinuities” was chosen as the Conference theme.

A Conference Committee was formed in January 2022 and a Call for Full Papers was sent out in the same month. 

Submissions Received

The Editorial Committee received a total of 57 full-papers for review of which three were rejected at the desk review stage. Of the 54 papers sent for double-blind review, the Editorial Committee could  not accept 12 papers based on reviews received from scholars with specialization in relevant fields.  Two authors withdrew their papers accepted for presentation. Many authors revised their papers based on the reviews they received. A total of 33 papers received in response to the Call for Papers were presented at the Conference. These papers focused on issues and topics as wide ranging as  education, ritual and performance, translation and language learning, legal reforms, livelihood and  economic change, culture, international relations, literature, religion and philosophy among others. 

As many of the papers received did not necessarily align with the main theme of the Conference, the Conference Committee came up with the idea of inviting papers from leading scholars in Sri Lanka whose research focuses on the social, economic, ideological and institutional dimensions of  Humanities and Social Sciences education in the country. As an outcome of this initiative, 15 invited papers were presented at four special panels including the Plenary Panel. 

Inaugural Session

The inaugural session of the 1stMaanudam Research Conference was held on the evening of the 29th of July 2022 at Kailasapathy Auditorium. The session started with the folk invocation performance by the staff and students of Drama and Theatre and Fine Arts. Dr. T. Sanathanan, Convener of Conference, delivered the welcome speech. It was followed by a speech by Prof. K. Suthakar, Dean/Faculty of Arts. The Vice Chancellor of the University of the Chief Guest Prof. S.  Srisatkunarajah spoke next. After his speech, the Book of Abstracts was launched. Dr. M.  Thiruvarangan, Chief Editor of the Conference, provided a brief overview of the papers received and the review process before the launch of the Book of Abstracts.

The highlight of the inaugural session were the two keynote speeches. The first keynote speech was  delivered Prof. Sujit Sivasundaram of Cambridge University, UK on the topic Humans and  Environments. Sujit argued that the British tied the island together, in an unfinished way, as  centralized and unified colonial state and that this had implicated for how territory was  conceptualized as a natural entity. Notions of belonging, indignity and ethnicity flowed from such an  articulation. In his lecture Sujit placed this argument in relation to traditions of mapping, collecting  and studying the environment over the long term. The second keynote speech was by Dr. K.  Indrapala, the first Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Jaffna and former professor  of History. Since he was not able to be present in person, a pre-recorded keynote speech was played  on the screen. Dr. Indrapala’s talk was on the theme “The Humanities in the University of Jaffna: The First Decade (1974 – 1984). His talk while mapping the vision of the faculty under the sub themes of  staff, library, community interactions and students, traced the 200 years of humanities and social  science education from the establishment of Batticotta Seminary by the American Board of  Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Jaffna. 

Following the two keynote speeches, Mrs. Abiramy Rajkumar, the Secretary of the Conference, delivered the Vote of Thanks. 

The inauguration session ended with a Violin Concert by Mr. Gobithas and his party and the violin  students of Department of Music. The entire inaugural session was livestreamed via YouTube. 

Dinner was served in an illuminated, open-air space outside Kailasapathy Auditorium between the Old Arts Block and the previous Management Faculty Block.The dinner was mainly catered by economically challenged women working with the Ammaachi Restaurant. Similarly,the Conference  filesmade of Palmyra weave wereproduced bya community of women whose economic status is  below the poverty line. Our hope is that their involvement in the Conference as suppliers would have contributed to their livelihood during these challenging times. 

Day II of the Conference 

A plenary session, three special sessions and nine technical sessions were held on Saturday, the 30th of July 2022 from the morning till evening. 

The Plenary Panel focused on the following theme:

  • The Neoliberal Turn Interrogated: The Impact of Reform to Humanities and Social Science  Programmes in Sri Lankan State University System

The Special Panels focused on the following themes: 

  • Literary Pedagogies: On the Relevance of Literature 
  • Predicaments of Aesthetic Pedagogy
  • Social Sciences in Sri Lankan Universities: Expected Roles Vs Present Trends

Academics from the University of Jaffna, University of Peradeniya, University of Colombo,  University of Kelaniya, Open University of Sri Lanka, the University of the Visual and Performing  Arts, Sri Lanka and St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu, India presented fourteen (14) papers at the plenary and special sessions. 

The Technical Sessions were organized around the following themes: 

Literature, Law, and International Relations 

Livelihood and Economy 

Society, Culture, and Technology

Communities and Their Life-worlds

Literature, Philosophy, and Religion

Education in Context

Translation as Praxis

Language and Education

Drama and Performance

Academics, researchers and students from universities, other educational institutions and  organizations in Sri Lanka, India, and the USA presented thirty three (33) papers. 

Members of the Faculty of Arts, students, researchers and members of the larger public attended these  sessions.

 Post-Conference Events: 

The Maanudam Conference provided an opportunity to the students and staff of the Faculty of Arts to  engage with the Keynote Speaker and panelists who came from the Southern part of Sri Lanka at various post-conference events and sessions:

  1. Prof. Sujit Sivasundaram, keynote speaker, made a presentation on “New Perspectives on History” on Monday, the 1st of August 2022 for the staff and students of Faculty of Arts. 2. Prof. Sivamohan Sumathy from the Department of English, University of Peradeniya conducted a special academic session Michel Focault’s work for the benefit of the students  who are taking ENC 21013 (Cultural Practice in English Studies) in the Department of  Linguistics & English. 
  2. Dr. S. Karmegam from the Department of Folklore, St. Xavier College, Palayamkottai conducted a lecture for second year media studies students on 1st of August on field work methods.
  3. Dr. S. Karmegam from the Department of Folklore, St. Xavier College, Palayamkottai gave a lecture on “Folk art and Tamil Identity “for third year students who offer AFC 32043(Art, Identity and Tamilness). Students from Drama and Theater Arts, Media Studies and Tamil  also attended the lecture.
  4. “VeruVeli” student body of the Drama and Theatre Arts organized a guest lectures byDr. S. Karmegam from the Department of Folklore, St. Xavier College, Palayamkottai and Dr. S.Govindarajan, University of Chicago on 2nd of August.
  5. KalaiVattam of Department of Fine Arts organized a public lecture on the topic of “Language, Nation and Tamil” on 3rd of August. The lecture was delivered by Dr. S.Govindarajan, University of Chicago.


Funding for the Conference was provided by the University. Registration fees received from the 126  participants and presentersformed a portion of the funds utilized for the Conference. In addition, 12,  92000 Sri Lankan rupees were collected by the Conference Committee from the alumni and well wishers of the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna. All these contributions helped to organize the  Conference in a successful manner.


Vice chancellor’s media unit and the students of Department of Media Studies helped the conference  organizing committee in photo documentation of the two days events.

Conference Proceeding

The Editorial Board of the conference is planning to bring out a full paper proceeding of the  conference in coming months after accommodating the feedbacks that received during the paper  presentation.

Gallery of the Conference

Maanudam Research Conference 2022
29 July 2022

One Hundred Years of Humanities and Social Sciences Education: Trajectories, Continuities and Discontinuities

The centenary anniversary (1921 – 2021) of the founding of tertiary education in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Sri Lanka falls at a time when the country is reeling under a pandemic and the crises it has caused in various domains including education. As part of re-visiting and inquiring into this one-hundred-year history, marked by both radical openings and vexing challenges, and as a way of approaching and understanding the present moment in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the light of this history, the Faculty of Arts at the University of Jaffna hosts the Maanudam Research Conference 2022 as a satellite conference of the Jaffna University International Research Conference 2022 (JUICE 2022) under the theme “One Hundred Years of Humanities and Social Sciences Education – Trajectories, Continuities and Discontinuities”.
The organizers of the Conference invite full papers from scholars, researchers, teachers, students, artists, activists and the larger public that focus on but not necessarily restricted to one or more of the following sub-themes:

  • The scope, content and nature of education and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences in pre and post-1921 Ceylon
  • The trajectories these disciplines have taken and the continuities, discontinuities and shifts that have marked their lives within Sri Lanka’s universities
  • Philosophies, frameworks and paradigms that have informed and shaped teaching, learning and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ceylon/Sri Lanka
  • Social, political, economic and cultural factors that impinged on the trajectories the Humanities and Social Sciences have taken in Ceylon/Sri Lanka
  • The role of the Humanities and Social Sciences in imagining, inspiring and bringing about democratization, community development, social justice, gender justice and cultural coexistence in Ceylon/Sri Lanka
  • The interventions made by the University of Jaffna and its community to support and strengthen local, regional and national struggles for diversity and pluralism, land, free education, de-militarization, memorialization, human rights, justice, equality, self-determination and coexistence
  • The cooptation of the Humanities and Social Sciences into hegemonic, chauvinistic, and neoliberal projects that have caused and furthered inequalities of ethnicity, religion, culture, region, class, caste, gender and sexuality in Ceylon/Sri Lanka
  • Centers and peripheries and dominant and resistant currents within the Humanities and Social Sciences in Ceylon/Sri Lanka
  • The crisis caused by the pandemic in Humanities and Social Sciences education and the resilience shown by these disciplines and the teaching, learning and research communities associated with them
  • The place and role of the Humanities and Social Sciences in today’s Sri Lanka and the world at large, and the directions these disciplines ought to take in the future
Important dates:
Important Dates:
Call for Papers 29 January 2022
Deadline for Submission of Full Paper 29 March 2022
29 April 2022
Notification of Acceptance 29 April 2022
Deadline for Submission of Camera-Ready Paper 29 May 2022
Last Date for Registration 10 June 2022
Conference Date 29 July 2022
  • Language, Culture and Creativity
  • Religion and Society
  • Humans and Environment
  • Law, Governance and People
  • Community, Resistance and Social Movements
  • Economy and Development
  • History, Archaeology and Narration
  • Education and Educational Practices