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Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa is a marine anthropologist and a cultural geographer. With formative interdisciplinary training in sociology, comparative literature, and theatre studies (National University of Singapore), she holds a Masters in Environmental Politics (University of Oxford, SoGE), and a DPhil in Development Anthropology (University of Bonn, ZEF).
She joined ZMT´s Development and Knowledge Sociology working group in June 2015, and is an adjunct lecturer with the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen. Between October 2016 and December 2019, she scientifically coordinated the German Science Foundation/DFG funded research project EMERSA within the first phase of the SPP 1889 initiative - Regional Sea Level Change and Society initiative. She currently co-leads the second phase SPP 1889 project ‘Towards Blue Urbanism for Sea Level Change Adaptation: Global Trajectories and Speculative Futuring in Island Southeast Asia’ (BlueUrban) together with Dr. Johannes Herbeck (Sustainability Research Center, University of Bremen), while serving as co-PI of the regional network collaboration WIOGEN for the West Indian Ocean Region, funded by the BMZ´s MeerWissen initiative.
Diverse histories and cultural politics around marine place- and sensemaking broadly inspire her work. Her continued research across the ‘megacities’ of Jakarta, Metro Manila, and Singapore examines how dystopic and utopic visions intermingle in co-shaping varied futures of coastal deltaic cities in the century to come.
Drawing from fieldwork financed by two small grant projects, she also continues to write on the politics of conviviality and invasive species governance in the east Caribbean (Dutch Antilles and Jamaica), and on local struggles around urban mangrove conservation and land use planning in west Malaysia. Her recent monograph Fishing, Mobility and Settlerhood: Coastal Socialities in Postwar Sri Lanka (Springer, 2018), traces how everyday forms of sociality - and of ethical being and doing - have transformed in the wake of civil war, particularly in ways that challenge scholarly assumptions on rivalry, resource competition, and collective action.
Apart from academia, she has, over the past 20 years, worked as an INGO researcher, project evaluator, and as a civil servant in diverse environmental and development-related organizations including the CGIAR-WorldFish Center Headquarters (Penang), the National Youth Council (Singapore), the IUCN (Colombo) and the UNFCCC Secretariat (Bonn).
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti. Beyond the Wall: Dying as an object of everyday governance in the Bay of Manila. Marine Policy, Vol. 112, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103661
Viana Inés.G., Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti, Willette, Demian.A., Gillis, Lucy G. (2019) Exploring how non-native seagrass species could provide essential ecosystems services: a perspective on the highly invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea in the Caribbean Sea, Biological Invasions, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-01924-y
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti, Irene S. Fitrinitia and Johannes Herbeck (2018) Watery Incursions: The Securitisation of Everyday 'Flood Cultures' in Metro Manila and Coastal Jakarta, International Quarterly for Asian Studies, Vol 49 (1-2): 105-126.
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti and Anna-Katharina Hornidge (2016) "Putting Lifeworlds at Sea: Studying Meaning-making in Marine Research, Frontiers in Marine Science 8, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2016.00197
Weeratunge, Nireka, Chris Béné, Rapti Siriwardane, Anthony Charles, Derek Johnson, Edward H. Allison, Prateep Nayak, Marie-Caroline Badjeck (2014) Small-scale fisheries through the wellbeing lens. Fish and Fisheries, 15 (2): 255-279.
Monographs & book chapters
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti and Epifania Amoo-Adare (2020) The Bi-polar Waterfront: Paradoxes of Shoreline Placemaking in Contemporary Accra and Colombo, In: P. Godfrey and M. Buchanan, eds. Global [Im]-Possibilities: Exploring the Paradoxes of Just Sustainabilities, London: ZED, forthcoming.
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti (2020) Decolonizing Seascapes: Imaginaries and Absences on an Island Hub, In: K. Knopf, M. Lesho, E. Sippola, eds. Postcolonial Knowledges. Heidelberg: HeiUP, forthcoming.
Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti (2018) Fishing, Mobility and Settlerhood: Coastal Socialities in Postwar Sri Lanka, Cham: Springer.
Schulz, Karsten and Siriwardane, Rapti (2016) The Risk Frontier: Social Transformations in Rural and Peri-urban Ghana, in Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability in Rural West Africa, In: J. Yaro and J. Hesselberg (Eds.), Berlin: Springer, pp. 171-189
Working papers and policy briefs:
Perrin, Sam and Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa (2017) Women in marine science: The efficacy of ecofeminist theory in the wake of historical critique, ZMT Working Paper No. 3, Bremen.
Schulz, Karsten and Rapti Siriwardane (2015) Depoliticised and Technocratic? Normativity and the Politics of Transformative Adaptation. Earth System Governance Working Paper No. 33, Lund and Amsterdam.
Weerawardhana, Chaminda and Rapti Siriwardane (2015) "Reis Mafia" in Colombo: Wahlkampf um das Präsidentenamt. Südasien, 35 (1), 91-97.
Siriwardane, Rapti (2014) War, Migration and Modernity: The Micro-politics of the Hijab in Northeastern Sri Lanka. ZEF Working Paper No. 127, Bonn.
Siriwardane, Rapti and Sarah Winands (2013) Between hope and hype: Traditional knowledge(s) held by marginal communities. ZEF Working Paper No. 115, Bonn.
Siriwardane, Rapti (2015) 'Sambandam': Cooperation, Contestation and Coastal Lifeworlds in Postwar Sri Lanka, PhD dissertation, University of Bonn (summa cum laude)
Advisors: Prof. Conrad Schetter & Prof. Aram Ziai
Siriwardane, Rapti (2008) Utopias of Process: Re-envisioning Gendered Subjectivities among Eco-settlements in Southwest England, Masters thesis, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
Advisors: Dr. Jaime Lorimer & Prof. Andrew Barry
Siriwardane, Rapti (2004) Shifting Terrains: Negotiating Boundaries between the ‘Natural’ and its Contrived in Urban Ecological Narratives in Singapore, Honours thesis, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. Advisor: Prof. Stephanie K. Rupp