This article provides a rhizomatic partnership reading of diasporic Sri Lankan author Nayomi Munaweera’s novel Island of a Thousand Mirrors. The novel is analyzed in the light of the bio-cultural partnership-domination lens developed by Riane Eisler and Douglas P. Fry and underscores the fact that the rhizomatic quality of Indoceanic cultures can be traced even when it appears to be severely in jeopardy. Carrying out an analysis of different forms of domination and partnership models in the narrative thread, this article defends that the novel resolves that it is only outside of Sri Lanka, in diasporic territory, that the devastating dominator ascendancy rife on the island during the times of the civil conflict, when the story is set, can be rectified. The possibility of a rhizomatic partnership between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities is envisioned beyond the island shores, with the birth of a child of mixed ancestry in America. The child enacts the embodied possibility of a common future that, against the odds, may remain faithful to the rhizomatic quality of Sri Lankan and, more broadly, of Indoceanic cultures.


bio-cultural partnership-domination theory, Indoceanic cultures, rhizome, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Civil Conflict

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)