In Madison, Wisconsin, the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (AISLS) held an intensive one-day workshop for five graduate students who are working on Sri Lanka. They represented four different disciplines:
anthropology, education, geography and literature. The workshop focused on fieldwork methods such as semistructured interviews, observation or participant-observation, participatory action research, surveys, and visual and other digital technologies. Each student presented his or her project to the group, along with questions or concerns for the group to discuss. Session members helped one another strategize about practical matters –for example, the feasibility of research questions or particular procedures; selecting and gaining access to a research site; locating key informants; and identifying local scholars with shared interests. Three faculty members with extensive experience in Sri Lanka -- Mythri Jegathesan (Santa Clara University), Jeanne Marecek (Swarthmore College) and Dennis McGilvray (Univesity of Colorado at Boulder) facilitated the session.
Back row: Dennis McGilvray, Thursica Kovinthan, Jeanne Marecek, S. Pathmanesan. Front row: Christopher Neubert, Mythri Jegathesan, Dominic Esler, Dinidu Karunanayake