Site menu:


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.

R. Cheran

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
University of Windsor

Transformation, Continuity and Aesthetics in Contemporary Tamil poetry
Saturday, June 2nd | 3:00 - 5:00 PM

The concepts of thinai and thurai in Tamil classical poetics are central to our literary tradition. They are unique in their creative and critical blending of cultural, economic, ecological, musical and emotional attributes. Thinais and thurais can be used simultaneously as taxonomical tools for literary criticism and to encapsulate a creative Tamil eco poetics of human-nature relationship while expanding our understanding of Tamilness. Building on this framework, this paper does two things: first, it compares Bakhtin’s notion of literary artistic chronotope -“spatial and temporal indicators are fused into one carefully thought-out, concrete whole. Time, as it were, thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsive to the movements of time, plot and history” (Bakhtin 1982:84)- and the Tamil concept of thinai/thinaiyiyal to argue that a critical deployment of thinai (thinaiyiyal) can offer a more nuanced perspective in the study of literature. Secondly, employing paalai thinai as a starting point, the paper demonstrates how thinaiyiyal as literary theory can be profitably employed to chart new contours for our understanding of displacement, exile, change, transformation, hybridity (thiripu) and fusion of genres (thinai mayakkam) in contemporary Tamil poetry.

Dr. Cheran's research and teaching interests include transnationalism, forced migration and diasporic identities as well as Tamil Studies. Prior to his current position, Dr. Cheran was a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow associated with York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and continues to serve as a faculty associate of the Centre and has been guest faculty in the Centre’s Summer Course on Refugee Issues for the past seven years. From 1984 to 1992, Dr. Cheran was a working journalist in Sri Lanka where he was the editor and regular columnist for a biweekly newspaper that focused on human rights reporting in the context of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Since 1990, Dr. Cheran has been a senior research consultant with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo. Cheran has published seven anthologies of poetry in Tamil. His poems have been translated into English, German, Sinhala, Kannada and Malayalam. He is the co-editor of Thamil ini (Kalachuvadu: 2000), selected papers from the international Tamil studies and Tamil literary conference held in Chennai, India in 2000.