9th Annual Tamil Conference

The Center for South Asia Studies, the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, and UC Berkeley's Tamil Program are very pleased to invite you to a 3-day conference on Tamil studies titled:

The 9th Annual Conference on Tamil Studies

Reading Tamil Publics: Questions of Audience

May 3 - 5, 2013
Berkeley, CA

As the authoritative 13th c. linguistic treatise Naṉṉūl knew well, research in Tamil demands engagement with a dynamic variety of expressive modes. Difference is everywhere marked—historical period, geographic extension, social footing, linguistic register, performative context—and Tamil authors of written and spoken texts attended to these differences as they sought the consideration of audiences. Who, across the dramatic range of public expressions of Tamil in its two millennia of textual expression, is eligible to listen and to participate? Such questions are particularly acute in the study of emerging Tamil modernities, of which colonial modernity is but one. In this rewarding array of papers, the ninth annual Berkeley Tamil Conference explores the role of audience in the articulation of Tamil language and culture. How is a listening public conceived, when shifting bonds of thinkers, creators, and addressees create new possibilities for expression, as well as new limits? From the pragmatics of acculturation, as infants learn to be social participants and youths become educated subjects, to new possibilities for vernacular expression in specialized cultural idioms, conference panelists will engage with processes of authorial intent and textual reception, understanding their critical place in the expression of community.

Esteemed cultural historian A. R. Venkatachalapathy, will draw upon his remarkable body of work on the development of print capitalism in colonial Tamilnadu to deliver his keynote address, The Birth of the Tamil Author

The international panoply of speakers include:

  • Prof Bernard Bate, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
  • Prof Rudhramoorthy Cheran, University of Windsor
  • Prof Sascha Ebeling, University of Chicago
  • Prof Kaori Hatsumi, Kalamazoo College
  • Tasha Manoranjan, People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (pearlaction.org)
  • Prof Dennis McGilvray, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Shakthi Nataraj, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prof Kalpana Ram, Macquarie University, Australia
  • Preeti M. Talwai, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prof Margaret Trawick, Massey University, New Zealand
  • Bharat Venkat, University of California, Berkeley
  • Kristin Bergman Waha, University of California, Davis
  • Convener: Prof. Blake Wentworth, University of California, Berkeley
  • Moderator: Prof. Gita V. Pai, University of California, Berkeley