Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Barbara Kreiger

Second Advisor

Tom Zoellner

Third Advisor

Anna Minardi


The following thesis tells the story of my year in rural Sri Lanka. After college, I traveled from suburban New York to the highlands of the island country with the hopes of writing an ethnography on agrarian Buddhism. I soon realized, however, that I was not just embarking on an academic project, but an inner journey to explore ways of being that had been lost in the modern culture I had known. My narrative recounts how immersion in a rice cultivating village deepened my sense for what it means to live in reciprocity with the more-than-human world—a world of plants, animals, ancestors, and spirits dwelling in a sacred land suffused with stories. More broadly, I suggest that the ability to re-member animistic ways of being is vital to restoring a healthy human presence in the Earth community. My narrative is organized into twelve chapters that trace how my inner journey mirrored the transformation of the rice paddies across time.