Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa

Dr. Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department: Social Scienes
Working Group: WG Development and Knowledge Sociology

Phone: +49 421 23800 - 174

Fax: +49 421 23800 - 30

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Office: Wiener Str. 7
28359 Bremen
Room: 5201 (2nd floor)

Research interests

Core research themes:
Historic and cultural politics of seacoasts; conviviality and everyday socialities in natural resource governance; human-animal studies and multispecies ethnography; littoral urbanism and the speculative futuring of coastal cities; hidden lives (and afterlives) of infrastructural projects.

Conceptual and methodological currents:
- Waterworlds and phenomenolologies of the sea, combining sensory studies
- Decolonial discourses in Oceanic and Island Studies
- Grounded theory, narrative analyses, and storytelling
- Critical Science and Technology Studies
- Methods in visual ethnography

Personal Data

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Rapti Siriwardane-de Zoysa is a maritime 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 has been a postdoctoral member of the Development and Knowledge Sociology working group at the ZMT since June 2015, and is an adjunct lecturer with the Institute of Sociology at the University of Bremen. She also scientifically coordinates a German Science Foundation/DFG funded research project EMERSA within the SPP 1889 initiative - Regional Sea Level Change and Society, and is a founder member of the regional initiative WIOGEN (West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network), funded by the BMZ. 

Historic and cultural politics of marine sense- and placemaking broadly inform her ongoing work. Her present research explores cultures of learning and adaptation to sea level change against broader dynamics of coastal transformation in achipelagic urban Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines), together with the politcis of convivality and invasive species governance in the east Caribbean (Bonaire/Dutch Antilles and Jamaica). 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.

She has also undertaken projects and other commissioned assignments with the CGIAR-WorldFish Center Headquarters (Penang), the National Youth Council (Singapore), the IUCN (Colombo) and the UNFCCC Secretariat (Bonn), over the past 20 years.

Select publications


Peer-reviewed journals

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 (2018) Fishing, Mobility and Settlerhood: Coastal Socialities in Postwar Sri Lanka, Cham: Springer.

Siriwardane-de Zoysa, Rapti (forthcoming) Decolonizing Seascapes: Imaginaries and Absences on an Island Hub, in Knoff, K.,  Knopf, Kerstin, Marivic Lesho, Eeva Sippola, eds. Postcolonial Knowledges. Heidelberg: HeiUP.

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