Newest Episode of Democracy in Question Podcast Features Neloufer de Mel

The newest episode of the Democracy in Question podcast, hosted by Central European University (CEU) President and Rector, Shalini Randeria, features Neloufer de Mel senior professor of English at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Drawing on feminist scholarship, post-colonial and cultural studies, Neloufer has published extensively on Sri Lankan society, gender, and justice. Let me just mention three of her books here, "Women & the Nations Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Sri Lanka, "Gendering the Tsunami: Women's Experiences from Sri Lanka," and most recently, "Militarizing Sri Lanka: Popular Culture, Memory and Narrative in the Armed Conflict."

She has been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships and grants, including from the MacArthur Foundation, a Fulbright scholarship at Yale, and at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna.

I discuss with Neloufer, the complex causes and unfolding trajectory of the current societal, economic, and political crisis in Sri Lanka. Beginning with the immediate roots of the crisis, we address the local and global economic factors that fueled popular protests against the corruption of the governing political elites.

In this episode "Current Economic, Social and Political Situation in Sri Lanka" published September 14, Shalini and her guest discuss the causes of the current societal, economic, and political crisis in Sri Lanka. The immediate roots of the crisis are the local and global economic factors fueled by the popular protests against the corruption of the governing political elites. What does the ongoing crisis have to do with catastrophic or distant events like the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine? What role does foreign debt, especially indebtedness to China, play in the crisis? How does the fragile architecture of Sri Lanka's political economy and its dependence on remittances survive when funds are being siphoned off into foreign investments by the national elites? What are the prospects of civil society-led democratic reforms in the face of Sri Lanka's militarized political structures?

For each episode of Democracy in Question, Randeria invites a leading scholar or public figure to explore the challenges and dilemmas facing democracies around the world. Listen to the trailer and subscribe here.

Series five of Democracy in Question is produced in partnership with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (AHCD) where Randeria is a Senior Fellow. ACHD and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna co-produced seasons one and two of the podcast.