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Researcher output profile for A/Prof Rohan Bastin
Because of his name and his long connection to Sri Lanka, it is imagined by many that Rohan Bastin is Sri Lankan. The connection is, so to speak, serendipitous. He was born in Melbourne and schooled in Adelaide where he completed his first degree in anthropology at the University of Adelaide. He first travelled to Sri Lanka for PhD fieldwork in mid-1984 and spent 9 months examining east coast temple festivals before the escalation of fighting forced him to relocate to the west coast and study the Munnesvaram temple complex and its festivals for the next 15 months. Completing his PhD at University College, London, Rohan became first a tutor and then lecturer in anthropology at the University of Melbourne before commencing an Australian Research Council postdoctoral fellowship in 1993. He returned to Sri Lanka for 12 months in mid-1994 to study contemporary caste dynamics and Buddhist-Christian relations in the circumstances of the urban expansion of Colombo. He continued that research on the reshaping of Colombo in the conditions of civil war through the late 1990s.
Upon returning to Australia in 1996, Rohan took up a lectureship in anthropology at James Cook University where he stayed until 2005. From 2002 until his departure, Rohan served as Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology and Sociology. In 2005 he joined Deakin and was tasked with rebuilding its anthropology program. He served briefly as the Associate Dean (International) in 2007 before once again heading to Sri Lanka for a new ARC-funded project which also enabled him to conduct research in Kerala, India throughout 2008.
Rohan's principal research interests are in the anthropology of South Asia, religion, development, the state and human conflict. His monograph on the Munnesvaram temple, The Domain of Constant Excess (Berghahn Books 2002) explores Hindu temple aesthetics with a particular focus on daily rites and seasonal festivals. More recently, he has written about the Marian apparition that preceded the Papal visit to Sri Lanka in 1995. He also writes about the politics of knowledge and the rise of anthropological consultancy, co-editing with Barry Morris Expert Knowledge (Berghahn Books 2005).
Rohan is a member of the advisory board of the journal Social Analysis and a Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society. He is also currently the deputy head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
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