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The conference will host over 40 scholars of various disciplines from North America, Europe, South Asia, and Australasia:


Artist: Vasuki
Artist: Kiko
Artist: Vasan

Abraham, S.
Ambalavanar, D.
Arasu, V.
Champakalakshmi, R.
Cheran, R.
Fukao, J.
George, G.
George, U.
Ghose, R.
Guruge, S.
Jegathesan, M.
Kanaganayakam, C.
Kanthasamy, P.
Karunakaran, K.
Karunanithi, G.
Kingsolver, A.
Mason, R.
Maunaguru, S.
Maunaguru, Sitralega
McNaughton, S.
More, J.B.P.
Orr, L.
Pai, G.
Palaniappan, S.
Pandian, M.S.S.
Rajesh, V.
Renganathan, V.
Sangarasivam, Y.
Seylon, R.
Shanmugam, K.
Sivalingam, H.
Sriramachandran, R.
Sundar, A.
Tambiah, S.J.
Tyyskä, V.
Vaitheespara, R.
Vivekananthan, P.
Whitaker, M.
Xavier, S.
Young, K.
Younger, P.

Katherine Young

Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

State Formation in the Cankam Period
This paper will examine the origins of the Tamil collective in South India by analyzing the material and symbolic components of the process of state formation in the cankam period, especially as represented in poetic representations of space, landscape, and territory. This will focus on ideas of centre and boundaries, on concepts of tiṇai and nāṭu, on associations with south and north, on myths of the three Tamil kings, and on concepts of Tamilness based on language and culture. I will read the Tamil textual evidence based on akam and puram poems in juxtaposition with archeological evidence and textual evidence of the period from northern and Sri Lankan sources and from cross-cultural studies to detect overt and covert makings of identity.

Dr. Young's research interests are Hinduism, religions of Tamil Nadu, Hindu ethics, and gender and religion. Her major publications include "The Image- incarnation: Religion, Philosophy, and Sectarian Politics in the Evolution of Srivaisnavism" Studies in Hinduism, vol. 4 (forthcoming); "Om, the Vedas, and the Status of Women with Special Reference to Srivaisnavism" in Jewels of Authority: Women and Textual Tradition in Hindu India (2002); "The Spirit and the Bride say Come: Continuing a Hindu-Christian Dialogue," Journal of Vaisnava Studies 6:5 (1998); "Theology Does Help Women's Liberation: Srivaisnavism, a Case Study," Journal of Vaisnava Studies 3 (1995); "The Meeting of Two Great Traditions: Migration into Tamil Nadu (500-900 C.E.)," in Ethnicity, Identity, Migration: The South Asian Context (1993).