Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM)

Sowmya Maheswaran


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Sowmya Maheswaran is a PhD candidate at Humboldt University Berlin, Institute for European Ethnology (IfEE) as well as Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM). She is working as a research associate in the project “Transforming Solidarities. Practices and Infrastructures in the Migration Society” and holds a doctoral scholarship of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation.


In her dissertation, Sowmya Maheswaran examines global cultures of resistance, transnational organization and political subjectivation in contexts of violence and displacement. Postcolonial negotiations of racism, nationalism and migration/flight, especially in war and post-war situations, form central lines of investigation.


Her PhD focuses ethnographically on Tamil movements and struggles in Sri Lanka and the diaspora. In an independent research project, she is working (together with Timo Dorsch) on logics of violence and global capitalism through the lens of infrastructure and development projects in Mexico and Sri Lanka.




  • Manuela Bojadžijev (Humboldt University Berlin)
  • Sidharthan Maunaguru (National University Singapore)


Research focus


  • Political Subjectivity
  • Resistance Movements
  • Violence (under Postcolonial Capitalism)
  • Methodologies of Critical Ethnography
  • Global and Political Anthropology




  • Since 2024: Research Associate (project: “Transforming Solidarities. Practices and Infrastructures in the Migration Society”, Humboldt University, Berlin University Alliance)
  • 2022-2024: “The Dark Side of Infrastructure. Global Configurations of State, Capitalism and Violence in Sri Lanka and Mexico.”, independent research project with Timo Dorsch
  • since 12/2021: PhD scholarship holder of the Hans Böckler Foundation
  • since 11/2021: PhD Fellow at Humboldt University Berlin (Institute for European Ethnology)
  • since 2020: Freelance Research and Political Consultancy on Human Rights topics and/or Sri Lanka (e.g. conflict and context analysis, interview- and document/desk-studies, report writing, paper presentations…)
  • since 2019: Freelance Journalism (mainly on Sri Lanka)
  • 2020: Master of Arts in Ethnology, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
  • 2019: Second Bachelor of Arts in Ethnology, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
  • 2017: First Bachelor of Arts in Educational Sciences / Pedagogy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main


Selected Publications


Selected Publications


Peripherie. Politik Ökonomie Kultur

  • 2022: „Rezension: The Intimate Life of Dissent: Anthropological Perspectives, Harini Amarasuriya, Tobias Kelly, Sidharthan Maunaguru, Galina Dustinova-Stjepanovic & Jonathan Spencer (Hg.)“
  • 2019: „Rezension: Indigeneity on the Move. Varying Manifestations of a Contested Concept, Eva Gerharz, Nasir Uddin & Pradeep Chakkarath (Hg.)”


Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik

  • 2021: “Sri Lanka: Militarisierung als Krisenpolitik” (militarization as politics of crisis)
  • 2019: “Sri Lanka: Nationalismus auf dem Vormarsch” (nationalism on the rise)
  • 2019: “Sri Lanka: Der groteske Putsch” (the grotesque coup)


journalistic articles

Atlas of Migration (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)

  • “ Reasons to Move” Facts and figures about people on the move. (with Dr. Ramona Lenz), 2019


Tagebuch. Zeitschrift für Auseinandersetzung.

  • “Trügerische Idylle” (mit Timo Dorsch), 2023


Missy Magazine. Magazin für Pop, Politik und Feminismus

  • “Politik & Protest: „El sur resiste“: Der Süden wehrt sich”, 2024 (the south resists)
  • „Politik & Protest: Kampf im Singular“, 2023 (politics and protests: struggle in singular)


Neues Deutschland. Journalismus von links

  • „Neue Ära in Sri Lanka spart Tamilen aus“, 2022
  • „Land in desolater Lage. Deutschland schiebt Geflüchtete nach Sri Lanka ab“, 2021
  • „Nach der kolonialen Dynastie“, 2020
  • „Sri Lanka im Griff des Autoritarismus“, 2020


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