Gender and Women's Studies 

Sri Lankan women adapt to and contend with many religious and cultural standards, including powerful ideologies of motherhood, marriage, and the workforce. Women navigate these expectations as they craft their own identities within the domestic and public spheres. From living with a Sri Lankan family to visiting a local women's shelter, ISLE students are exposed to the cultural, social, economic, and political forces, which shape the image and experience of women.

Program Highlights

"The field trip to the Women's Development Center in Kandy was eye-opening, meaningful, and very useful in helping me process and better understand what we were talking about in class. I was able to see the implications of cultural norms and stigmas in real women's lives. [...] I gained a deeper understanding of women's lives in Sri Lanka and the similarities and differences between these experiences with my own in the U.S." - Fall '16 student

  • Field lectures at women's development and support centers
  • Opportunity to volunteer in NGOs and organizations dedicated to the support of women
  • Courses in Women Studies and Social Identity
  • 4-week Independent Study period to pursue field research on a topic of choice
  • Travel throughout the island to understand women's experiences in various regions

Relevant Independent Study Projects

  • Mara Pugh (ISLE '16): "Social Services for Women in Sri Lanka: Perspectives from the Women's Development Centre (WDC)"
  • Teagan Felknor-Edwards (ISLE '16): "Examining Muslim Bridal Trends in Sri Lanka in the Context of a Global Muslim Fashion Industry"
  • Olivia Dure (ISLE '15): "From the Margins to the Center: Women, Agency, and Divine Possession"
  • Mitsuki Nishimoto (ISLE '15): "Un-silencing 'Trauma': Counseling as Empowerment for Women Affected by Violence in Sri Lanka"
  • Jasmin Mahabamunuge (ISLE '14): "A Take on Sri Lankan Women's Empowerment through the Lens of Reproductive Health and Family Planning"
  • Samantha Bonnel (ISLE '13): "Tamil Nationalism and the Politics of Women's Dress at Jaffna University"
  • Sarah Robinson (ISLE '12): "An Investigation into the Shifting Social Patterns Concerning Tamil Widows in Post-War Jaffna"
  • Molly Work (ISLE '12): "Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Available to the Plantation Sector"