2010 Fall

Session II in and around Kandy

Session II was packed with so many events that we have created two web pages for this session- this page, for activities in and around Kandy and the ISLE Center, and a second page, devoted to Session II Field Trips outside of Kandy.

In Session II of the program students opted to take two of the four major elective courses: Politics, Ethnicity, Folklore and Ritual, and Theravada Buddhism. Many students also chose to spend a couple afternoons a week engaging in Kandyan Dance and Drum and/or Batik. The students embarked on several field trips during this time, some in and around Kandy (see below), and others further afield.

Throughout the busy Session II, students also met weekly with Resident Director Professor Jenkins, Professor Meegaskumbura, and ISLE librarian Tilak Jayatilake to discuss their research interests, methodology, and potential sites for Independent Study. Session II concluded with an all-group discussion of Independent Study projects, an Independent Study orientation, and the Kandyan Dance and Drum performance. Beginning on November 15th, the students headed out independently to begin their final research projects all over Sri Lanka.

Sinhala Class Shopping Trip

As part of their Sinhala class, the students embarked in pairs on a morning journey through Kandy where they used their Sinhala to locate places, bargain, and meet some locals! They practiced maneuvering public transportation by taking a bus back to the ISLE Center. Upon their arrival, the students made a presentation in Sinhala about their experiences. Following are some photos of the students with their shopping. Left to right and top to bottom: Henry and Liza, Emily and Jess, Caitlin and Justin, Chantal and Sasha, Rachael and Josh, Jen and Katy.

Liza and HenryEmily and JessCaitlin and Justin

Chantal and SashaRachael and JoshJen and Katy

Rachael and Josh and their groceries

Visit to Professor Liyanage's House

Sinhala Professor Liyanage also invited the students to his house to enjoy tea and meet his family.

Students seated at Professor Liyanage's houseStudents pour tea at Professor L's house

Highlights from other Classes

Below left, Program Director Stephen Jenkins (left) and Theravada Buddhism Professor Premasiri and students Justin, Jess and Rachael visit a nearby temple on Poya (full moon) day. Right, Professor Amarasinghe and students discuss Modern Sri Lankan Politics.

Buddhism field tripPolitics class

For the Folklore and Ritual course, Professor Meddegama brought in a Tovil healing ritual group to perform for the students. The Tovil ritual is a traditional Sri Lankan healing dance associated with exorcism or the healing of mental illness.  It includes dramatic dancing and drumming using techniques passed down over generations. A lime is used to bless each of the students.

Tovil dancers

Tovil ritual dance

tovil ritual with a limeTovil ritual with lime- Emily

Tovil healing ritual with lime.


Caitlin and EmilySasha and batik

Emily and Caitlin (left) and Sasha (right) show off their batiks on the final day of batik class.

Jess shows her batik

Jess and her batik.

Dance and Drumming Rehearsal

The students headed to dance teacher Surasena's studio on a Sunday afternoon for an extra practice session.

Dance rehearsal

(From left) Emily, Jen, Jess, Sarah, Chantal, and Katie rehearse for the dance performance.

Drum rehearsal

Jen, Henry, Jess rehearse their drumming performance.

Dance rehearsal Emily

Emily (in green) rehearses the cobra dance with Mr. Surasena's local dance students.

Dance and Drum Group

The group poses for a picture at their rehearsal session.

Final Kandyan Dance and Drum Performance

Seven weeks of hard practice culminated on November 12th, when the students put on a performance for their host families and professors.

Caitlin and Katy prepareHenry and drum

Above left, Caitlin helps Katy with her make-up. Above right, Henry and his drum.

Dance group

Front row: Emily, Sarah, Jen, and Katy; Back row: Sasha, Henry, and Caitlin

Dance- girls

Katy, Sarah, Caitlin, Jen and Emily pose with Mr. Surasena's students.

drumming performanceElephant Dance

Above left: drumming performance by Jen, Henry, Jess, Sasha (front to back). Above right: Elephant dance featuring Jess, Jen, Sarah, and Emily.

Emily's cobra danceJustin and malli

Above left: Emily performs the Kandyan Cobra Dance. Above left: Justin and his malli (little brother) enjoy the show.

Rachael and host motherSandamali and Sasha

Above left: Rachael and her amma (host mother) at the dance show. Above right: Sinhala teacher, Ms. Sandamali, poses with Sasha after the performance.