University of Heidelberg

Dr. Dhammika Herath

Dr. Dhammika Herath
Dr. Dhammika Herath


  • Postdoc-Forschungsstipendiat der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung




Dhammika Herath is a Professor in Sociology in the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He obtained his PhD in Peace and Development Research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2008. He has a track record of teaching a number of courses in sociology and anthropology. In 2021, Prof. Herath taught conflict resolution, development studies and research methods at the university of Peradeniya. Prof. Herath has undertaken many research studies primarily on ethnic and religious conflicts in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Macedonia, Israel, Palestine, and Rwanda and has published research outcomes resulting from these international collaborative studies in internationally reputed journals. He has also conducted several studies on development issues and development-induced displacement and resettlement in Sri Lanka and India.

Humboldt Projekt

Prof. Herath is working on a book project on The Deepening Politicization of Sri Lankan Buddhism in the 21st Century. This is a critical examination of the qualitative transformations of Buddhism, mainly, Buddhist practices and the role of the Sangha, in contemporary Sri Lanka. In the 21st century, theSangha has continued to question the authority of the Nayaka Theros (high-priests of the three fraternities), and to splinter into a multitude of disparate individual monks and radical movements embracing not only religious and political matters, as it traditionally did in the past, but a newer and broader set of mundane affairs including environmental degradation, corruption, economic development, foreign investment, democracy, sex education and even the burial of Covid 19 victims. A prominent transformation involves Sangha’sentry into active parliamentary politics as law makers, which is a profound break from tradition. These political transformations are paralleled by the emergence of a counter response; the new Asapu movement, which tries to mirror the forest dwelling monks in urban and semi-urban settings. The Asapu movement claims to follow the forest-dwelling tradition with its emphasisis on meditation, a simple lifestyle, and the separation from mundane life, but is in fact associated with a luxurious lifestyle, lavish temples, and even an involvement with ‘politics’, broadly defined. The book resulting from this project will be a exposition of these two cases to illuminate the deepening politicization of Sri Lankan Buddhism in the 21st Century.


Nationality- Sri Lankan
Date of Birth- 6 November 1975


  • Research area according to the Humboldt Foundation's research area index-A6/A602
  • PhD- In Peace and Development Research- School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Effective Date : 30th May, 2008.
    Bachelor in Arts Degree- Honors in Sociology-University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, 2001


    Career and Recent Research Studies

    2015 January 15 upto present Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
    November, 2012 - December 2014 Researcher, affiliated to Peace and Development Research, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
    30th October, 2010 to 30th October, 2012 Research Fellow and Acting Executive Director, International Center for Ethnic Studies, Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • 2020 – Ongoing Colombo Urban Regeneration Project: participating as the Resettlement Specialist for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
  • 2015-2018: Religion and Conflict: Conflicts between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka and Myanmar funded by the Swedish Research Council.
  • 2012-2013: Corruption and Conflict in Sri Lanka, funded by Swedish Research Council
  • 2013-2016: Impact of Development and Conflict Induced Displacement and Urban Re-hosing on Urban Poverty and Inequality and Violence Funded by International Development Research Center, Canada.
  • Honours and prizes

  • National Merit Award, National Research Council, Sri Lanka, 2017
  • Swedish Development Cooperation Agency Scholarship (Sida Sarec) for doctoral education in Sweden, 2003-2008.
  • P.B. Samarakoon Memorial Scholarship for undergraduate education 1997 granted by Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka for best results at GCE Advanced Level in the Social Sciences.
  • Presentations in International conferences/ workshops

  • 2018. Peace and Wellbeing among Farmers in the North and East; Possibilities in the Post-Conflict Phase, presented at the international conference on “Transforming Agricultural Extensions Systems” 10-11 May, 2018, held at Okay Ray Regency, Kandy.
  • Michael Schulz, Dhammika Herath and Ezechiel Santama. 2018. Official narratives of armed conflict history and counter-narratives of resistance: the cases of Israel-Palestine, Rwanda, and former Yugoslavia, presented at the 2018 Millennium Journal of International Studies annual conference at School of Economics, London, UK from 27th-28th October
  • 2017. Memory as a means of reconciliation and as a perspective to fathom emotional suffering, presented at the Workshop on Questions of Memory, Justice and Reconciliation in Societies Post Conflict 11-14th September, 2017, ICES, Colombo.
  • 2016. Negotiating Tensions-Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka Presented at the 12th International Burma Studies Conference, October 6th – 9th, 2016, Northern Illinois University, Chicago, United States of America.
  • 2018. Religion and violence: Perceptions of threat and imaginary of oneself and enemy. 6th Sri Lanka Roundtable. Sri Lanka Moving Forward. 6-7th September, 2018. University of Zurich. Switzerland.
  • 2016. How does development- forced displacement and resettlement affect material, relational and subjective wellbeing? Presented at the IASFM 16: Rethinking Forced Migration and Displacement: Theory, Policy, and Praxis held 12-15 July 2016 in Poznan, Poland.
  • 2016. Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Peace Education presented at ‘Contemporary Security Paradigms and Challenges’, held 15-16 September in Ohrid, Macedonia.
  • 2014. Why does democracy malfunction in Sri Lanka? Presented at the 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies 23 to 26 July 2014: University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2014. Peace Education’s Impact on the relationship building and societal conflicts: Paper presented for the National Conference on Peace and Conflict Research 27-28th February 2014. Umea, Sweden.
  • 2014. How the issues relating to Land is compounded by ethnic grievances and Corruption in post-war Sri Lanka (Jonas Lindberg and Dhammika Herath): Paper prepared at the International Studies Association Annual Convention 3-6 April 2013, San Francisco, USA.
  • 2014. Community break-up and emotional wounds of violence: Experiences of war victims in Sri Lanka: presented at the Sri Lanka Round Tables 23-24 of November 2011, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
  • 2014. Farmer Suicides as a Form of Protest: the Case of Sri Lanka (Co-author). International Workshop on Farmer Suicides in India: January, 2011, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry India.
  • 2008. Development in War-torn Rural Villages: the Relationship between Social Capital and Rural Development, presented at the 20th European Conference of Modern South Asian Studies held in the University of Manchester, UK, 7th to 11th, July, United Kingdom.
  • 2005. Buddhist Philosophy, Literature and Way of Life for Global Peace, XIV Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 29 Aug-3rd Sep, London, United kingdom.
  • 2004. Social Capital and Poverty: An analysis of the efficacy of the social capital approach to understand a culture of poverty situation: 18th European Conference of Modern South Asian Studies, 6-9, Lund, Sweden.
  • 2004. Social Capital in Reconstruction: SEACSN Conference 2004: Issues and Challenges for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Southeast Asia, 12-15 January, Penang, Malaysia.
  • Publikationen


  • 2020:Introduction to Conflict Resolution. Colombo. International Center for Ethnic Studies. 180 pp.
  • 2018.Breakup of Community Social Structures in the War-Affected Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. Kandy. International Centre for Ethnic Studies. 56pp
  • KT Silva*, MGM Razaak, D Herath, R Usoof-Thowfeek. (2018). Post-war Livelihood Trends in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. Kandy. International Centre for Ethnic Studies. 56pp
  • 2012. Wounded Society: Social Wounds of the War and the Breakup of Community Social Structures in Northern Sri Lanka in Herath and Silva (eds.),Healing the Wounds: Rebuilding Sri Lanka after the War, ICES, Colombo and Kandy. 222pp
  • 2012. Healing the Wounds: Challenges in Post-war Social Reconstruction in Sri Lanka in Northern Sri Lanka in Herath in Herath and Silva (eds.),Healing the Wounds: Rebuilding Sri Lanka after the War, ICES, Colombo and Kandy. 222pp
  • 2010. Social Reconciliation amidst Material Reconstruction in D Herath, K Höglund, M Schultz, KT Silva (eds.),Post-War Reconstruction in Sri Lanka: Prospects and Challenges; ICES. Colombo and Kandy
    • Further Publications

    Publication with peer review process

  • Herath D, M. Schulz & E. Sentama. (2020). Academics’ manufacturing of counter-narratives as knowledge resistance of official hegemonic narratives in identity conflicts.Journal of Political Power, 258-304.
  • 2020. Constructing the Buddhists: imaginary of a historically persecuted and victimised community.Asian Studies Review. 44 (2), 315-334
  • Herath*, D., J. Lindberg, and C. Orjuela., (2019). Swimming Upstream: Fighting Systemic Corruption in Sri Lanka.Contemporary South Asia. 27 (2), 259-272
  • 2018. Social capital under conditions of ethnic conflict: how does social capital impact on development in micro settings?Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1): 47- 62
  • Herath*. D, R.W.D. Lakshman, and A .Ekanayake, (2017). Urban Resettlement in Colombo from a Wellbeing Perspective: Does Development-Forced Resettlement Lead to Improved Wellbeing?Journal of Refugee Studies, 30(4): 554-579.
  • C. Orjuela*, D. Herath and J. Lindberg., (2016). Corrupt Peace? Corruption and Ethnic Divides in Post-war Sri Lanka.Journal of South Asian Development, 11(2) 149–174.
  • Herath*, D. and H. Rambukwella, (2015). Self, religion, identity and politics:Buddhist and Muslim encounters in contemporary Sri Lanka. Colombo. International Center for Ethnic Studies.
  • Lindberg*, J. and D. Herath, (2014). Land and grievances in post-conflict Sri Lanka: exploring the role of corruption complaints.Third World Quarterly, 35:5, 888-904.
  • 2009. The Discourse of Development: Has it Reached Maturity? Third World Quarterly: 30(8): pp 1449-64.
  • 2008. Development Discourse of the Globalists and Dependency Theorists: Do the Globalization Theorists Rephrase and Reword the Central Concepts of the Dependency School?Third World Quarterly: 29(4): pp 817-32
  • 2007. Social capital and Poverty: An Analysis of the Efficacy of the Social Capital Approach to Understand a Culture of Poverty Situation in Prasenjit Maiti (Eds)Development Studies (Vol 1). New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers.
  • Publication without peer review process

  • 2014, The Problem of Governance in Sri Lanka; Do they really matter? An examination of governance indices in Sri Lanka. Governance Report 2012/13. Colombo.Transparency International Sri Lanka.
  • 2010. Black marks on report card; what the international indices give for governance, Sri Lanka Governance Report. Colombo.Transparency International Sri Lanka.
    • Magazines

  • 2018. Post-conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Sri Lanka,Conflict Trends, 18/1.
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