Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date




Publication Title

Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences








(First paragraph) In one of the most challenging and thought-provoking history books published in Sri Lanka in the last decade, P. V. J. Jayasekera has used a wide variety of sources to challenge a number of existing interpretations relating to Sri Lanka under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century. While the book is based partly on his own doctoral dissertation completed in 1970, in Jayasekera’s own words “The scope and the foci of the original study have been substantially changed” (p. ix) in view of new theoretical approaches in the study of colonial history and the debates on history arising out of the recent ethnic conflict. Jayasekera has also carefully taken into account historical study of indigenous social and cultural movements”, even in the third volume of the University of Ceylon: History of Ceylon in 1973, most of the space is “devoted to elaborate institutional development formulations of British rulers” and policy (p. xxv). This work, research on Sri Lanka published in the long period since he completed his dissertation. Readers should note that despite the title, Jayasekera has consciously avoided any attempt “to cover the confrontations of the Sri Lankan Tamil society with colonialism” (p. xxvii) and that, with the exception of brief references in the concluding section, information on Muslim-Buddhist relations will come to us only in the forthcoming second volume.


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Original Publication Citation

de Silva, C.R., 2018. Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, Revivalism and Reform under British Rule in Sri Lanka 1796-1920 (Vol. I) by P. V. J. Jayasekera. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1), pp.65–68. DOI: