Rohan BastinStaff member
Rohan Bastin was born in Melbourne and completed his secondary schooling and first university degree in Adelaide. After completing his PhD at University College London, Rohan joined the Anthropology program at the University of Melbourne, later embarking on an ARC postdoctoral fellowship. He then joined James Cook University where he rose to the position of Head of School before being appointed to Deakin in 2005 with the task of rebuilding the Anthropology program. Since joining Deakin, Rohan has extended his long-term research in Sri Lanka with two ARC Discovery Project grants. The most recent of these grants is funding a team of researchers in Sri Lanka and Australia including 5 PhD students completing their theses in 2020.
Rohan’s PhD research focuses on the problem of religious pluralism in the circumstances of ethnic conflict. His PhD thesis was a study of the Hindu temple complex at Munneśvaram in Sri Lanka, later revised as the monograph The Domain of Constant Excess. Rohan then followed up this research through a postdoctoral fellowship exploring Buddhist-Christian relations within the Sinhalese community, a study of shared beliefs and practices in Sri Lanka and south India, and a study of the major pilgrimage centre of Kataragama. In 2015, Rohan was awarded further ARC funding for a joint research project involving Sri Lankan and Australian HDRs looking at aspects of religious revitalisation and social reform movements in post-war Sri Lanka.
- 2019. Rohan Bastin and Premakumara de Silva, ‘Historical Threads in Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Sri Lanka’, in Iselin Frydenlund and Michael Jerryson (eds), Buddhist-Muslim Relations in a Theravada World, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- 2019. Rohan Bastin, Premakumara de Silva, and Farzana Haniffa, ‘Ethnicity and Violence in Sri Lanka: An Ethnohistorical Narrative’, in Steven Ratuva (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
- 2018. Rohan Bastin, ‘An Obscure Desire for Catastrophe’, in Bruce Kapferer and Marina Gold (eds), Moral Anthropology: A Critique, Oxford: Berghahn.
- 2017. Rohan Bastin and Premakumara de Silva, ‘Military Tourism as State-Effect in the Sri Lankan Civil War’, in John Eade and Mario Katić (eds), Military Pilgrimage and Battlefield Tourism: Commemorating the Dead, London: Routledge.
- 2016. Rohan Bastin, ‘Secularized Sovereignty and Sacrifice: A Ritualistic Point of View’, in Cécile Barraud, André Iteanu, and Ismaël Moya (eds), Puissance et Impuissance de la Valeur L’anthropologie Comparative de Louis Dumont, Paris: Editions du CNRS.
- 2016. Rohan Bastin, ‘Recognising the Spatial and Territorial Nature of Religious Communities in Colombo, Sri Lanka’, in Yamini Narayanan (ed.), Religion and Urbanism, London: Routledge.
- 2014. Rohan Bastin, ‘Dynamics of Fragility: Secret Victories and Political Awakenings in Sri Lanka’s Civil War’, in Anthony Ware (ed.), Development in Difficult Sociopolitical Contexts: Fragile, Failed, Pariah, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- 2013. Rohan Bastin, ‘The Politics of Virtuality’, Religion and Society 4(1), 21–31.
- 2012. Rohan Bastin, ‘Empty Spaces and the Multiple Modernities of Nationalism’, Appendix 3 in the new edition of Bruce Kapferer, Legends of People, Myths of State: Violence, Intolerance and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia, revised edition with new preface and appendices. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books.
- 2012. Rohan Bastin, ‘Saints, Sites and Religious Accommodation in Sri Lanka’, in Glenn Bowman (ed.), Sharing the Sacra: The Politics and Pragmatics of Inter-communal Relations around Holy Places, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books.
- 2009. Rohan Bastin, ‘Sri Lankan Civil Society and its Fanatics’, Social Analysis 53(1), 123–40.
- 2009. Rohan Bastin, ‘”Royal Science” and Civil War in Sri Lanka: A Comment on S. Goonatilake’, Contributions to Indian Sociology 43(3), 443–467.
- 2002. Rohan Bastin, The Domain of Constant Excess: Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka, New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books.
- 2001. Rohan Bastin, ‘Globalisation and Conflict’, in A History of Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: Marga Monograph Series on Ethnic Reconciliation, No. 23. Series editors Michael Roberts, Godfrey Gunatilleke, and Devanesan Nesiah. Colombo: MARGA Institute.
Teaching Anthropology for over 30 years at 3 Australian universities, Rohan’s list of subjects developed and taught is extensive. There also have been regular gigs as a guest lecturer for medical students and in other disciplines such as Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and Politics.
Since joining Deakin in mid-2005 and creating a new Anthropology major, Rohan has designed and taught units right across the undergraduate program including units on the anthropology of crime and violence, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of poverty and development as well as both introductory and Honours coursework units. He currently teaches the anthropology of Myth and Ritual and the introductory unit Culture and Communication.
Areas of research where Rohan supervises primarily are focused on South Asia, especially Sri Lanka, its religions, and political history. In addition, Rohan supervises projects on religion and politics in Australia, including the history of Native Title and the nature of local government as these inform broader understandings of the changing nature of the state and its relation to civil war. The Sri Lankan civil war remains a special interest, albeit situated in the broader context of world systems.
Rohan currently is supervising research projects on the following topics:
- The Tamil Hindu pilgrimage to Kataragama in post-war Sri Lanka
- Religion and the history of Colombo
- The creation of hydraulic states in contemporary Sri Lanka
- New Buddhist monastic movements in Sri Lanka
- The worship of the Goddess Kannaki in post-war Sri Lanka
- Sonic theology in the drumming traditions of Buddhist Sri Lanka
- The impact of Native Title decisions for Australian First Nations populations in Victoria
- The rise of the sex-bot: sex and sociality in the digital age
- The church feast of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and the status of Roma peoples in contemporary France
Some previous supervisions:
- Kirsten Bell, Ch’Ondogyo Religion and Korean Nationalism (Anthropology, co-supervisor, examined 2000). Kirsten is now Professor of Anthropology at the University of Roehampton, UK
- Darlene McNaughton, The Nature of Depressed Caste Identity amongst a Group of Itinerant Traders in Kerala (Anthropology, principal supervisor, examined 2003). Darlene is now Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at Flinders University
- Marina Gold, Perpetual Revolution: People and State in Socialist Cuba (Anthropology, principal supervisor, examined 2011). Marina is now a research fellow at the University of Bergen and an adjunct researcher in Anthropology at the University of Zurich
- Ben Hall, Christian Politics in Hograno District, Solomon Islands (Anthropology, principal supervisor, examined 2013). Ben works as a GIS designer and planner in Brisbane
- Martin Hardie, Drugs and Professional Cycling (Anthropology, associate supervisor, examined 2015). Martin gave up a career as a Law lecturer to return to development consultancy in Timor Leste.
- Jennifer Norris-Green, Quakers and Unitarians in Adelaide (Anthropology, principal supervisor, examined 2018). Jenny continues to run an accountancy firm in Adelaide.
Media and public events
- ABC Online Unleashed. Op-ed article on electoral violence in Sri Lanka (2010)
- ABC News (online). Interviewed on violence against Indian students (2009)
- ABC Online Unleashed. Op-ed article on roots of Australian intolerance (2009)
- ABC Online Unleashed. Op-ed article on the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war (2009)
Radio and television
- 2019. Channel NewsAsia (Singapore): Interviewed on the Easter church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka
- 2019. ABC Radio National: Interviewed on the Easter church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka
- 2018. Channel NewsAsia (Singapore): Interviewed on the anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka
- 2018. ABC Radio 774: Interviewed on the reintroduction of ban on women purchasing alcohol in Sri Lanka
- 2016. Channel NewsAsia (Singapore): Interviewed on the Sri Lankan President’s visit to India
- 2015. Channel NewsAsia: Interviewed on the UN Human Rights Investigation
- 2015. ABC Radio PM: Interviewed on the UN Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka
- 2015. The Wire, Community Radio around Australia: Interviewed on the UN Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka
- 2015. Channel NewsAsia: Interviewed on Sri Lankan general election
- 2015. Channel NewsAsia: Interviewed on repealing the adultery laws in South Korea
- 2015. Channel NewsAsia: Interviewed on Sri Lankan presidential election
- 2015. Singapore 938Live News Radio: Interviewed on Sri Lankan general election
- 2015. Singapore 938Live News Radio: Interviewed on Sri Lankan presidential election
- 2013. Singapore 938Live News Radio: Interviewed on CHOGM and Sri Lankan human rights
- 2013. Singapore 938Live News Radio: Interviewed on Buddhist monks’ protests in Sri Lanka
- 2009. ABC Radio National. The Philosopher’s Zone: Interviewed on the thought of Claude Lévi-Strauss
- 2009. ABC Radio Australia: Interviewed on Tamil Asylum Seekers
- 2009. ABC Radio 774: Interviewed on arrest of Sri Lankan Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka
- 2009. ABC Radio 774: Interviewed on Sri Lankan Presidential Elections
- 2009. ABC Radio National: Interviewed on civilian casualties in civil war
- 2009. SBS Radio Worldview Program: Interviewed on the Sri Lankan military solution
- 2008. ABC Radio National: Interviewed on the end of the ceasefire in Sri Lanka
- 2015. The Sunday Age (Australia). On Australian anti-intellectualism
- 2014. The Sunday Age (Australia). On Terror Management Theory
- 2010. The Sunday Age (Australia). On Halloween as a new commercial cosmology
- 2010. The Sunday Age (Australia). On the meaning and continued significance of sainthood in Roman Catholicism
- 2009. The Herald-Sun newspaper (Australia). Interviewed for education feature on history of Sri Lankan civil war
- 2009. The Sunday Age newspaper (Australia). Interviewed for feature article on cultural and gender differences in the creation of leisure
- 2007. The Age newspaper (Australia). Interviewed for article on AFL and the city of Geelong