Creating New Worlds: Multilingualism, Visual Arts, the Poetic Imagination

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Friday, June 1st, 2018

Friday, June 1, 20189:00AM - 6:30PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Tamil Studies Conference in Memory of Chelva Kanaganayakam


This conference explores the role of creativity across literary and visual media in Tamil worlds. Our current situation is one that is profoundly shaped by dynamics of translation across worlds and languages, as Prof. Kanaganayakam argued through his work and life. In this context, how might we open the larger history of Tamil aesthetics from a perspective that values multiplicity as foundational to creativity itself? How are hybrid pasts recruited to speak to questions of endurance and resistance in the present? Spanning over a millennium of artistic production and aesthetic reflections, from ancient India to contemporary Sri Lanka, the research presented here will address these questions and focus on modalities of creative practice that engage with multiplicities, internal and external, as the grounds upon which new worlds in Tamil are made.

Coffee, Pastries, and Welcome: 9:00-9:45 am
Welcome Remarks 9:45-10:00 am

Session 1: Multilingualism in Tamil Literary Worlds, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Anne Monius (Harvard University)
Multilingualism in the Tamil Grammatical Tradition

Giovanni Ciotti (Universität Hamburg)
On the Use of the Linguistic Label ‘Maṇipravālam’ in Some Palm-leaf Manuscripts from Tamil Nadu

Manasicha Akepiyapornchai (Cornell University)
Vedāntadeśika’s Multilingualism: Tamil and Sanskrit Verses in the Maṇipravāḷam Rahasyatrayasāram

Suganya Anandakichenin (École Française d’Êxtreme Orient, Pondicherry)
Juggling with Two Languages: The Techniques of Explanation and Interpretation in Aḻakiya Maṇavāḷa Cīyar’s Paṉṉīrāyirappaṭi Commentary on the Tiruvāymoḻi.

12:00-1:00 pm Lunch

Session 2: Multilingualism in Tamil Literary Worlds, 1:00-2:30 pm

Krissy Roghan (University of Toronto)
Charting Courses of Tamiḻ Pulamai in Colonial South India

Christoph Emmrich (University of Toronto)
Tamil Jainism and the Multilingual Jain

Srilata Raman (University of Toronto)

2:30 -3:00 break

Session 3: Art as World Making, 3:00-4:30 pm

S. Jeyasankar (Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Batticaloa)
Scarecrows: Activist Art of the People and By the People

Vasuki Jeyasankar (Artist, Batticaloa)
Art for Social Change: Experiences of a Feminist Artist

Nedra Rodrigo (York University)
Panel Chair and Discussion Facilitator

4:30-5:00 tea break and remarks

Session 4: Embodiment, Territoriality, Translation and Culture, 5:00-6:30 pm

P. Ahilan (University of Jaffna)
Embodiment: Territories and territorialities of the poetry of 1980’s Jaffna

Geetha Sukumaran (York University)
Saramakavikal: Ahilan’s poetry and its Translation

Nergis Canefe (York University)
Panel Chair and Discussion Facilitator

Conference Organizers: Darshan Ambalavanar, Francis Cody, Christoph Emmrich, Srilata Raman
With Special Support from: Kirubhalini Giruparajah, Neerajah Vignarajah, Bhavani Raman, Kuruparan Selvarajah

Event Announcement



Mayumi Yamaguchi

Main Sponsor

Centre for South Asian Studies


Asian Institute

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