Professor Sandya Hewamanne

Department of Sociology
Professor Sandya Hewamanne
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873828

  • Location

    5A.342, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Monday 1.30-2.30 p.m. Tuesday 1-2 p.m.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Gender and Sexuality

Open to supervise

Economic and Feminist Anthropology (and Sociology)

Open to supervise


Open to supervise

Human Rights

Open to supervise

Medical Anthropology

Open to supervise

South Asia

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Rethinking Feminist Political Economy: Global Assembly Lines, Transformative Politics and Economic justice in South Asia

Invited presentation, Inaugural lecture- Sustainable Development Lecture Series, Oslo, Norway, 26/3/2020

Ramayana, Gender Ideals and India's Daughters

Invited presentation, Forsyth Tech Community College, USA, Public talk, 25/11/2019

Dowries in Practice: Divergent Realities of Global Production in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India

Invited presentation, Public lecture, 31/10/2019

Conning Their Way To Justice: Marginalized Actors within Sri Lanka’s Global Production Responding to Neoliberal Development

Annual Conference on South Asia, Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, United States, 18/10/2019

Global Garment Industry in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Lecture-Bangladesh Industrial Workers Federation., Dhaka, 3/8/2019

Corporate Social Responsibility policies and Modern Slavery Act.

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Public lecture, Melbourne, Australia, 7/5/2019

Archeology of Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka.

Invited presentation, Discussion panel- South Asia Section. Foreign Ministry of Norway., Oslo, Norway, 27/3/2019

IPSA-International Political Science Association World Congress

Invited presentation, Discussant- Panel on Beyond Borders: Intrastate and Interstate Socio-Political Movements in South Asia, IPSA-International Political Science Association World Congress, Brisbane, Australia, 25/7/2018

Global Assembly Lines and Human Rights.

Public lecture, Miri, Malaysia, 8/5/2018

Human Rights and Global Assembly Lines

Invited presentation, A lecture, Curtin University, Miri, Malaysia, 7/5/2018

Unutterable Desires- the book

Invited presentation, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting- invited round table to discuss my new ethnography, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., United States, 2/12/2017

Sri Lanka's Global Factory Workers: (Un) Disciplined Desires and Sexual Struggles in a Post Colonial Society

American Anthropological Association Meetings 2017, Washington D.C., United States, 1/12/2017

Man-power Workers of Sri Lanka: Labor recruiters and Precarity.

Invited presentation, Public lecture, Duke University and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Durham, United States, 24/8/2017

From Global Factory Workers to Local Entrepreneurs: Former Global Factory Workers Manipulating Capital in Sri Lanka’s Villages.

Invited presentation, Moscow, Russia, 26/6/2017

Servants of Neoliberalism?: Former Global Factory Workers Manipulating Capital in Sri Lanka’s Villages. University of Kentucky. April 2017.

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Key note speaker-South Asia Week, Lexington, United States, 13/4/2017

Unutterable Desires: Subversive Sexualities and Undisciplined Daughters in Sri Lanka. , Sri Lanka. July 2016.

Invited presentation, Public lecture, International Center for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 13/7/2016

Don't Kill Our Dowries: Gender, Empowerment and Politics of Location

European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) Annual Meetings, European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) Annual Meetings, Warsaw, Poland, 22/6/2016

Migration, Stigma and Empowerment: Former Global Factory Workers Negotiating New Identities in Sri Lanka’s Villages.

Panel presentation, Migration and Gender, Barcelona, Spain, 15/7/2015

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Power and Agency in a Global World (SC201)

  • Ethnographic Explorations of the City (SC210)

  • Ethnographic Research Methods (SC277)

  • Dynamics of Gender, Work and Home (SC551)

Previous supervision

Helena-Ulrike Marambio
Helena-Ulrike Marambio
Thesis title: The Potential of Legal Empowerment for Disadvantaged Groups – a Case Study of Tamil Women with Physical Disabilities in Post-War Sri Lanka
Degree subject: Human Rights
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 6/1/2021


Journal articles (20)

Hewamanne, S., (2023). Invisible bondage: Mobility and compulsion within Sri Lanka’s global assembly line production. Ethnography. 24 (1), 85-105

Hewamanne, S., (2021). Emergency Contraceptives are our Saviors: Sri Lanka’s Global Factory Workers Negotiating Reproductive Health. Journal of International Women's Studies. 22 (1), 38-53

Hewamanne, S., (2021). Pandemic, Lockdown and Modern Slavery among Sri Lanka’s Global Assembly Line Workers.. Journal of International Women’s Studies. 22 (1), 54-69

Hewamanne, S., (2020). Surveillance by another Name: The Modern Slavery Act, Global Factory Workers, and Part-time Sex Work in Sri Lanka.. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 45 (3), 653-677

Hewamanne, S., (2020). From Global Workers to Local Entrepreneurs: Former Global Factory Workers in Rural Sri Lanka. Third World Quarterly. 41 (3), 547-564

Hewamanne, S. and Harnois, C., (2020). Categorical Variables without Categorical Thinking? A Relational Reading of the Sri Lankan Demographic and Health Survey.. Gender Issues. 37 (4), 1-21

Hewamanne, S., (2019). Crafting Social Change: Former Global Factory Workers Negotiating Identities in Sri Lanka's Villages. Identities. 26 (2), 165-183

Hewamanne, S., (2018). Sewing their way up the social ladder? Paths to social mobility and empowerment among Sri Lanka’s global factory workers. Third World Quarterly. 39 (11), 2173-2187

Hewamanne, S., (2017). Respectable Gentlemen and Street-Savvy Men: HIV Vulnerability in Sri Lanka. Medical Anthropology. 36 (8), 744-757

Hewamanne, S., (2012). Threading meaningful lives: respectability, home businesses and identity negotiations among newly immigrant South Asian women. Identities. 19 (3), 320-338

Hewamanne, S., (2012). Negotiating sexual meanings: Global discourses, local practices, and Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) factory workers. Ethnography. 13 (3), 352-374

Hewamanne, S., (2011). Collaborative Scriptwriting: Street Drama and Applied Anthropology among Sri Lanka's Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Workers. Practicing Anthropology. 33 (1), 23-27

Hewamanne, S., (2010). Suicide Narratives and In-Between Identities among Sri Lanka’s Global Factory Workers.. Ethnology. 49 (1), 1-22

Hewamanne, S., (2010). Gendering the Internally Displaced: Problem Bodies, Fluid Boundaries and Politics of Civil Society Participation in Sri Lanka. Journal of International Women's Studies. 11 (1), 157-172

Hewamanne, S., (2009). Duty Bound?: Militarization, Romances and New Spaces of Violence among Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone Garment Factory Workers.. Cultural Dynamics. 21 (2), 153-184

Hewamanne, S., (2008). City of Whores’: Nationalism, Development and Global Garment Workers of Sri Lanka.. Social Text. 95 (2), 35-59

Hewamanne, S., (2006). Pornographic Voice: Critical Feminist Practices among Sri Lanka's Female Garment Workers. Feminist Studies. 32 (1), 125-125

Hewamanne, S., (2006). Participation? My Blood and Flesh is being Sucked Dry”: Market Based Development and Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone Garment Factory Workers. Journal of Third World Studies. xxiii (1), 51-74

Hewamanne, S., (2003). Performing 'Dis-respectability': New Tastes, Cultural Practices, and Identity Performances by Sri Lanka's Free Trade Zone Garment-Factory Workers. Cultural Dynamics. 15 (1), 71-101

Hewamanne, S., (1999). "If They Allow Us We Will Fight": Strains of Consciousness Among Women Workers in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone. Anthropology of Work Review. 19 (3), 8-13

Books (5)

Hewamanne, S. and Yadav, S., (2022). The Political Economy of Post-COVID Life and Work in the Global South: Pandemic and Precarity. Palgrave. 978-3030932275

Hewamanne, S., (2021). The Political Economy of Post-COVID Life and Work in the Global South: Pandemic and Precarity. Palgrave

Hewamanne, S., (2020). Re-Stitching Identities in Rural Sri Lanka: Neoliberalism, Gender and Politics of Contentment.. University of Pennsylvania Press. 9780812252408

Hewamanne, S., (2016). Sri Lanka's global factory workers : (un)disciplined desires and sexual struggles in a post-colonial society. Routledge. 9780415819862

Hewamanne, S., (2011). Stitching Identities in a Free Trade Zone Gender and Politics in Sri Lanka. University of Pennsylvania Press. 0812202252. 9780812202250

Book chapters (14)

Hewamanne, S. and Ryan-Flood, R., (2023). Feminism and race in academia. In: Difficult Conversations. Routledge. 39- 49

Hewamanne, S. and Ryan-Flood, R., (2023). Feminism and race in academia: An interview with Sandya Hewamanne. In: Difficult Conversations A Feminist Dialogue. Editors: Ryan-Flood, R., Crowhurst, I. and James-Hawkins, L., . Taylor & Francis. 9780367542603

Hewamanne, S. and South, N., (2023). Women and the structural violence of ‘fast-fashion’ global production: victimization, poorcide and environmental harms. In: Gendering Green Criminology. Bristol University Press. 978-1529229639

Ryan-Flood, R. and Hewamanne, S., (2023). Feminism and Race in Academia: An interview with Sandya Hewamanne. In: Difficult Conversations: Feminist Dialogues. Editors: Ryan-Flood, R., Crowhurst, I. and James-Hawkins, L., . Routledge

Hewamanne, S., (2022). Wither Labor and Human Rights?: Precarious work, and informal economies in the Post-COVID-19 Global South.. In: The Political Economy of Post-COVID Life and Work in the Global South: Pandemic and Precarity.. Editors: Hewamanne, S. and Yadav, S., . Palgrave. 978-3030932275

Hewamanne, S., (2021). Global worker protests and tools of autocratization in Sri Lanka Rendering them silent. In: Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Editors: Widmalm, S., . Routledge. 310- 319. 9780367486747

Hewamanne, S., (2017). Health and Safety for Ten Hours Plus: Why Corporate Social Responsibility Policies are Not Successful as Envisioned.. In: Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World’s Garment Workers. Editors: De Neve, G. and Rebecca, P., . University of Pennsylvania Press.

Hewamanne, SK., (2017). Trouser Wearing Women: Changing Landscape of Fashion among Global Factory Workers and Contemporary Political Tensions in Sri Lanka. In: South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion. Editors: Begum, L. and Dasgupta, R., . I. B Tauris.

Hewamanne, S., (2016). A Buddha in the Making: Maniyo. In: Figures of Buddhist Modernity in Asia. Editors: Samuels, J., McDaniel, JT. and Rowe, MM., . University of Hawaii Press. 978-0-8248-5854-4

Hewamanne, S., (2015). Complicated Belonging: Gendered Empowerment and Anxieties about "Returning" among Internally Displaced Muslim Women in Puttalam, Sri Lanka. In: Asian Muslim Women Globalization and Local Realities. Editors: Ahmed-Ghosh, H., . State University of New York Press. 1-4384-5775-8. 978-1-4384-5775-8

Hewamanne, S., (2013). The War Zone in My Heart: The Occupation of Southern Sri Lanka.. In: Everyday Occupations: Gender and Militarization in South Asia.. Editors: Visweswaran, K., . University of Pennsylvania Press: 60-84. 60- 84

Hewamanne, S., (2011). ’City of Whores’: Nationalism, Development and Global Garment Workers of Sri Lanka.. In: Perspectives on Modern South Asia: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation.. Editors: Visweswaran, K., . London: Blackwell.. 289- 298

Hewamanne, S., (2009). The Color of Tears is the Same Everywhere: Inter-Ethnic Networking and Grassroots Organizing among Women Workers in Conflict-Ridden Sri Lanka.. In: Social Capital and Peace-Building: Creating and Resolving Conflict with Trust and Social Networks.. Editors: Cox, M., . London: Routledge. 95- 106

Hewamanne, S., (2006). Runaway Knowledge: Trade Liberalization and Reproductive Practices among Sri Lanka’s Garment Factory Workers.. In: Trading Women’s Health and Rights?: Trade Liberalization and Reproductive Health in Developing Economies.. Editors: Braunstein, E., Grown, C. and Malhotra., A., . London: Zed. 164- 188. 978-1842777756

Reports and Papers (1)

Hewamanne, S., (2008). HIV/AIDS Vulnerability Assessment: A Comparative Study in Sri Lanka.

Media (1)

Hewamanne, S., Sri Lanka’s global factory workers: Sewing their way up the social ladder. Image

Other (1)

Hewamanne, S., (2019).Modern Slavery Act is having unintended consequences for women’s freedom in Sri Lanka. The Conversation,The Conversation

Grants and funding


Impact Global Work

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)


Rethinking 'Grassroots' Economic Justice: Measured Intervention, Feminist Political Economy Approaches and Sri Lanka's Former Global Workers

Independent Social Research Foundation

Measured Intervention for Economic Justice

University of Essex (GCRF)


Bringing Global Factory Managers to the Table

University of Essex (GCRF)

Improving Occupational Health for Gender Justice and Poverty Reduction

University of Essex (GCRF)


Labor and Human Rights in Post-War Sri Lanka

University of Essex


Re-thinking Intimate Partner Violence: Soldiers and Former Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Factory Workers in Post Civil War Sri Lanka

The British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 873828


5A.342, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Monday 1.30-2.30 p.m. Tuesday 1-2 p.m.