Ph.D. Student Priyanka Jayakodi wins 3rd place in Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund Best Paper Competition

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce that Ph.D. student Priyanka Jayakodi has been awarded the 3rd place prize in the Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund Best Paper Competition through the Michigan State University Asian Studies Center. The Shao Chang Lee Scholarship Fund was established by friends and colleagues of the late Professor Lee to provide scholarship awards for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at MSU who have made outstanding accomplishments in Asian studies and are pursuing or planning to pursue a program that includes Asian studies.

Priyanka’s paper is titled “Chronicity of Militarism: Sri Lanka’s Militarized Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, and was written for Dr. Heather Howard’s course, ANP 834: Medical Anthropology. Priyanka is continuing to work on her paper, and plans to publish it soon.

Abstract: “This paper examines how the containment of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka has been represented as a war, and thus justifies and legitimizes the chronic use of military forces in everyday life. I reveal this through the alignment of militarization and containment of COVID-19 with those aimed at marginalized groups. I demonstrate how these alignments shore up boundaries and inequities that sustain the order of dominance and hierarchies. I underscore how militarization of everyday life in Sri Lanka reinforces structural violence to silence and/or further marginalize and control certain communities more than others. Further, the involvement of the military in healthcare during the pandemic has fundamentally impacted the conceptualization of care. Utilizing government policy documents, government media briefings, social media posts, and news reports on COVID-19 as examples, I explore how these along with socio-historical and economic factors together constitute a state of chronic militarism that permeates and traffics through the three overlapping domains of public, institutional, and personal spaces.”