Call for submissions | Transnational Configurations of Tamil Identities: Tamil Studies Symposium 2017

Tamil migrations have moved across multiple continents in the present, and maintained an interconnectivity often borne through shared linguistic, cultural, economic and political links. These crossings begin from the earliest recorded movements through to colonial and economic migrations, indentured labor, and include forced displacements due to conflict. A critical study of transnational Tamil identity must therefore engage with the issues of which persons and which practices possess the abilities to move/cross and why, while recognizing the diverse and plural identities that may inhabit Tamilness. The Third Annual Tamil Studies Symposium seeks to examine the ways in which transnational Tamil identities have been documented historically and politically and performed culturally and artistically; and to explore the benefits and pitfalls of transnationalism in the face of the contradictions and limitations of nation states. The Symposium is to be held at York University, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, the Haudenosaunee, and the Metis Nation of Ontario, on 26-27 May 2017.

Submission topics for academic papers may include, but are not limited to:

• Colonial and postcolonial labour migrations
• Transnationalism, law and human rights concerns
• Transgenerational narratives; youth activism and community formation
• Return, circulation and limbo
• Indigeneity, Blackness and other marginalized histories
• Material culture; Object histories; Archival practices (public and private documentations)
• The mobility/immobility of caste and religious practices
• Health, well-being, medicine and circumscriptions of dis/ability, health and well-being post-settlement (including mental health, intimate partner violence, elder abuse, poor integration etc)
• Feminisms, queerness, gender norms/roles, challenges and counter-strategies
• Cultural transmission and heritage preservation in diaspora
• Economic agreements, circulation and shifting state boundaries
• Transnational literatures (migration and acculturation from Cankam period onward); Literature in translation
• New media and forms of Tamil identities

Submissions are welcome in the form of academic papers, works of art, music, film and live performance. Abstracts must not exceed 250 words, or five minutes (if submitted in the form of a film or music clip). Submissions must be accompanied by a short bio (150 words) and emailed to The deadline for submissions is 10 January 2017.

The Symposium is committed to functioning within an anti-oppressive framework, and with a critical awareness of our implications in settler-colonial practices. We welcome papers/performances that draw on solidarities with indigenous and other racialized/ marginalized communities and posit meaningful historical and political parallels with transnational Tamil experiences. *Please alert us to media and/or staging requirements, accessibility requirements, as well as visa requirements in your submission.

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