Meet Marlon Ariyasinghe : South Asia Working Group at Stanford Fellow

Photo of Marlon Ariyasinghe

Meet our 2023-24 South Asia Working Group (SAWG) at Stanford Fellow, Marlon Ariyasinghe!

What do you want people to know about you?
Hi, I am Marlon, a first-year Ph.D. student at Stanford’s Department of Theatre and Performance studies (TAPS). I am a poet, editor and theatre practitioner from Sri Lanka. I work primarily on Southasian theater and performance. My research interests include migrant writing, memory, political performance, and performing blackness in Southasia. Most recently, I have been working on developing an Actor Training Methodology through Sri Lankan Combative Art Angampora, which is an effort to decolonize actor-training methodologies. Before coming to Stanford, I was the Senior Assistant Editor at Himal Southasian and a contributing editor for Southasia Peace Action Network (Sapan).

What made you want to join SAWG? What made you want to become a coordinator?
In my prior experience working for Himal Southasian and Sapan, I was exposed to cultivating regional dialogues, unpacking regional politics, and advancing peace initiatives. Therefore, I knew I wanted to be involved in the Center for South Asia in some capacity. I attended events and followed CSA’s activities with close interest. CSA and SAWG are great intellectual and cultural meeting spaces for Southasian students at Stanford. Joining SAWG seemed like a good fit, given its role as a student-led organization that not only complements the academic objectives of the CSA but also enhances the cultural and intellectual landscape for Southasian students at Stanford.

What are you interested in accomplishing with SAWG?
The year 2024 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for the region, with pivotal elections taking place in India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Those of us who work on Southasia are well aware of how national and regional politics significantly impact our scholarship and activism. I also believe that a nuanced understanding of regional politics is necessary for effectively engaging with Southasia.
For SAWG, I am particularly keen on broadening the discourse surrounding Southasia to encompass a truly regional perspective since conversations on Southasia can sometimes be India-centric. 
I am fortunate to collaborate with my co-coordinator, Aatika Singh, whose work and values deeply resonate with mine. Together, we aim to facilitate programs and events that engage with the region’s broader social, economic, and cultural dynamics. We aim to create an inclusive, intellectually stimulating environment for Southasian scholars at Stanford and for those researching and working in Southasia. We are also eager to build on the excellent foundation laid by our predecessors, Shubhangni Gupta and Paras Arora. We are grateful for their guidance and support.

Are you a Stanford student and are interested in becoming a SAWG fellow? Email Lalita du Perron, lalita [at] (lalita[at]stanford[dot]edu), to express interest and learn more about the role.