B.D. (Dileepa) Witharana

  • PhD student
  • Asian studies

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2171
E-Mail: b.d.witharana@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS India en Tibet

Fields of interest

Sociology and history of technology, Colonial and post-colonial Sri Lanka, caste and class formation and nationalism 

PhD research

Negotiating Power and 'Constructing' the Nation: The Engineering Profession in Sri Lanka

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Nira Wickramasinghe

I explore the community of engineers in Sri Lanka and their role with regard to three domains of inquiry.  Each of these domains arguably were crucial in the formation of the Sri Lankan state and society: Caste and class formation in Sri Lanka, emergence of nationalism and nation building and the politics of knowledge construction within Sri Lankan context. The research will cover 4 periods: pre-colonial ancient Ceylon (before 1505); colonial rule (from 1508 to 1948); decade of Mahaweli River diversion (1980s); and contemporary Sri Lanka (from 2005 onwards, the time during which the state ideology and the popular Sinhala Buddhist ideology overlapped and led to the conclusion of the civil war). However, the emphasis will be on the formation and establishment of the caste structure in pre-colonial Ceylon, class formation particularly during the period of colonial rule by British, redefinition of nationalism during the decade of the Mahaweli river diversion project and nation building in contemporary Sri Lanka with the exploration of the earlier periods providing the backdrop within which the engineering profession in contemporary Sri Lanka will be situated. 


M.Phil in Philosophy of Engineering, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
B.Sc (Eng) in Electrical Engineering (Power), University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

Senior Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Philosophy of Engineering, The Open University of Sri Lanka (Since June 2008)
Consultant / Project Manager, Practical Action / Intermediate Technology Development Group (November 2004 – April 2008):
Consultant, Energy Forum,  Sri Lanka (May 2004 – August 2004)
Peace Worker, Thirupthiya / Quaker Peace and Service, Sri Lanka (January 2000 – October 2001)
Research Assistant, Temporary Lecturer and Educational Assistant, Department of Mathematics and
Philosophy of Engineering, The Open University of Sri Lanka (August 1991 – September 1998)

Philosophy of Engineering at the Open University of Sri Lanka (Since June 2008)

Research Reports and Publications

Witharana B. D. and Amarasuriya H. N. (2013). Emerging donors in Sri Lanka: Impacts and consequences. A report presented to International Alert Sri Lanka

Witharana Dileepa (2010). “An Act of Faith'? Ten Years of the India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA)” In Free Trade Agreements and Human Rights, LST Review, Vol 20 Issue 270 April 2010, Law and Society Trust, Colombo

Witharana Dileepa (2009). Conflicting Agendas of Knowledge: Protection Rights of the Author and Access Rights of the Public. Conference Proceedings – 7th National Conference of Library and Information Science pp. 32-38, Colombo

Witharana Dileepa and Amarasuriya Harini (2009). Implications of Intellectual Property Rights on Access to Knowledge in Education and Research. Conference Proceedings – 7th National Conference of Library and Information Science pp. 104-138, Colombo

Witharana Dileepa (2009). “Why Proposed Water Policies were Contested?: A Discussion on Social, Political and Business Dimensions of Water Reforms”. Conference on National Water Policy for Sri Lanka: Towards a New Initiative, Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya

Witharana Dileepa (2009). Technology Transfer and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Joint Publication for Copenhagen on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. A report Submitted for Practical Action in preparation for Copenhagen negotiations , Colombo

Witharana Dileepa (2008). Outside Interests, Inside Needs: Tensions in Conflict Resolution Workshop Practices Based on Sri Lankan Experience In Roy B (Eds).  Re-Centering Culture and Knowledge in Conflict Resolution Practice, Syracuse University Press, NY, pp. 195-214

Amarasuriya H, Uvais H & Withrana D (2007). Trade from a Social Justice Perspective:  A Discussion on the Framework of India Sri Lanka Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Working Paper No. 1, IGD Programme, SPARC, University of Colombo, Colombo

Witharana D (2007). Electricity Reforms and the Poor. In Global Electricity Reform Experiences. Discussion Papers Vol. 2, Liberalization of Services and Reforms, Practical Action, South Asia

Witharana D (2006). Flying without Wings: Good Governance and Development in a Shrinking Local Policy Space: GATS and Reforms. International Conference on Governance and Development, Kandy

Witharana D (2002). Community Peace Work in Sri Lanka: A Critical Appraisal. Working paper 12. Centre for Conflict Resolution, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford

Bandara N, De Zoysa A & Witharana D (1993). Energy Efficient Cooking Arrangement. Annual Sessions of SLAAS, Peradeniya

De Zoysa A, Ranawaka C & Witharana D (1992). Power Generation and Some Difficulties in Incorporating Environmental Costs. Environment Forum, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa 

Last Modified: 11-12-2015