Friday, May 16th, 2014 – Saturday, May 17th, 2014 8th Tamil Studies Conference / In Many Worlds: Kudi/Kudiyurimai, Belonging, and Citizenship in the Tamil Imaginary

Friday, May 16, 20149:00AM - 6:00PMUniversity of Toronto
Saturday, May 17, 20149:00AM - 6:00PMUniversity of Toronto


In Many Worlds: Kudi/Kudiyurimai, Belonging, and Citizenship in the Tamil Imaginary

The objective of the conference is to explore how the notion of belonging (together with entitlement, empowerment, dispossession) has functioned in the past and the present. While papers that deal specifically with the etymology of “Kudi/Kudiyurimai” are welcome, the larger concern is with how belonging has been defined, upheld, or questioned. From the relatively circumscribed spatial units of the Sangam Period, to the reframing of Kudi/Kudiyurimai as republican citizenship, and on to more porous classifications of the diasporic and global present, Kudi/Kudiyurimai and belonging have contained shifting and multiple meanings. Whereas citizenship is often contrasted to the state of slavery, the genealogies of Kudimai in Tamil offer a perspective from which to think beyond these binaries.

We invite papers from diverse disciplines about the many ways in which belonging has been conceptualized, practiced, or reconfigured. What does it mean to belong to a country, a community, a region, or the world? What does it mean to inhabit, dwell, or reside in a place? How has the tension between an existential belonging measured as restraint or duty to kin and claims to citizenship constituted practices of democracy? How can alternative concepts of belonging be used to challenge dominant definitions of the citizen? Potential submissions might chart the connections between citizenship and belonging, activism, community, family, sexuality and intimacy, feminism, ethnicity, migration and labour, literary and cultural texts, religion, caste, memory, nationalist movements, movements for social reform and change, the law, and military power.

We welcome individual or panel proposals from all disciplines and from scholars, students, artists, writers, and activists. Papers can range beyond the theme of the conference, though preference will be given to those that do engage the theme more directly.

Submission Deadline: August 31, 2013

More information about the conference can be found here:


Asian Institute

Centre for South Asian Studies


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