Journal article

'Tropical' cosmopolitanism? The untoward legacy of the American style in postindependence Ceylon/Sri Lanka

Anoma Pieris

SINGAPORE JOURNAL OF TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY | WILEY-BLACKWELL | Published : 2011

Abstract

Using Homi Bhabha's discussion of vernacular cosmopolitanism as a starting point this paper attempts to reinterpret its thesis through an architectural reading of postindependence social transformations in Ceylon that coincided with the emergence of a new middle class. Inspired by American examples, suburban domestic architecture that was modest and repetitive and employed systematized construction methods made a break from a long history of labour intensive processes. This created channels through which American influences entered the local industry and were disseminated within it as an alternative 'tropical' modernism. This paper studies the location and marginalization of these influences..

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