I am an anthropologist focusing on questions of caste, religion, and the nation. My current research is a historical anthropological project on the relationship between caste, the Catholic Church, and the colonial state in Sri Lanka over the past two centuries. A further strand of this project aims, by drawing upon evidence and debates from across South Asia, to contribute to a renewal of the comparative study of caste alongside a reassessment of the influential Indian scholarship that has tended to dominate caste studies. Adjacent to these core topics, I am interested in linguistic questions that include language ideologies and second language acquisition, and I have recently published on the experience of learning Tamil through an anthropological lens. Before coming to LUMS I tutored on several anthropology courses at the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and was also a casual lecturer at St Andrews. I completed my PhD in anthropology at University College London in 2020, following an MA in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, also in London. Prior to that, I completed a BA in Russian and English at Trinity College Dublin.



  1. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH100)

  2. Introduction to Anthropology of Religion (ANTH268)

  3. Caste in South Asia and Beyond (ANTH483/HIST4202)


  1. Esler, Dominic (forthcoming) Caste in Contemporary Sri Lanka. In Handbook on Contemporary Sri Lanka, edited by Kanchana N. Ruwanpura, Amjad Saleem, and Asha Abeyasekera. London: Routledge.
  2. Esler, Dominic (2021) Claiming the Mannar Martyrs: Catholicism and Caste in Northern Sri Lanka. In Multi-religiosity in Contemporary Sri Lanka: Innovation, Shared Spaces, Contestation, edited by Mark P. Whitaker, Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, and Pathmanesan Sanmugeswaran, 233-245. London: Routledge.
  3. Esler, Dominic (2019) Dealing with diglossia: Language learning as ethnography. In Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research, edited by Julien Danero Iglesias, Robert Gibb, and Annabel Tremlett, 70-82. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  4. Esler, Dominic  (2018) Soviet Science Fiction of the 1920s: Explaining a Literary Genre in its Political and Social Context. In Russian Science Fiction of Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader, edited by Anindita Banerjee, 117-146. Boston: Academic Studies Press. (Republication.)
  5. Esler, Dominic (2010) Soviet Science Fiction of the 1920s: Explaining a Literary Genre in its Political and Social Context. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 109, 27-52.