Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017

Publication Title

Social Affairs: A Journal for the Social Sciences








In the last 75 years, scholars at and alumni of Peradeniya have transformed the writing of the history of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has had a long and distinguished tradition of chronicles and histories. However, with the advent of colonial rule, with exceptions like the hatan kavyas, the writing of the history of Sri Lanka fell largely into the hands of the colonizers. Though the rewriting of history by Sri Lankans through the critical reading of sources began before 1942 as a response to the colonial depiction of local history, with the foundation of the University at Peradeniya there began a major efflorescence of writing on the Sri Lankan past. This occurred not in isolation but in the context of independence from the British in 1948, and the subsequent political and ethnic tensions within the country. This paper maps the progression of this scholarly endeavor, with an appeal to a continuation of the mission by the current generation of scholars at the institution.


©2017 Social Affairs Journal. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 International License.


0000-0002-2906-4601 (de Silva)

Original Publication Citation

de Silva, C. R. (2017). Peradeniya's contribution to the rewriting of the history of Sri Lanka. Social Affairs: A Journal for the Social Sciences, 1(7), 57-60.

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Asian History Commons