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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.

Yamuna Sangarasivam

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Nazareth College

Tamil Nation/Collective: Being Tamil under Siege
Saturday, June 2nd | 12:30 - 2:30 PM

This paper examines the construction of Tamil collectives in opposition to Tamil nationalism as a dichotomy in a time of crisis when Sri Lankan Tamil communities are under the siege of military occupation and war. How does the search for Tamil collectives point to the transformations in Tamil identity constructions while simultaneously signifying a strategy of distancing the self from Tamil nationalism? In the age of a “global war on terror” where Sri Lankan Tamil people are either directly or indirectly designated as potential “terrorists,” what are the ontological consequences of fragmenting the cultural and political identities of the self that shape a sense of Tamilness in the diaspora and the homeland? What constitutes the multiple and contesting identities of a Tamil people under siege? In examining these questions, my intent is to understand the struggle to recover the self through the fragmenting experiences of refugee-immigrant life while simultaneously negotiating what constitutes a changing sense of a Tamil national and trans-national self in the white settler societies of Canada and the United States.

Dr. Sangarasivam engages her interdisciplinary training in musicology and dance to inform her research on the cultural productions of nationalism, resistance and violence in contexts of civil war. Her current research examines the intersections of globalism, activism and the cultural politics of transnational social movements that are shaped by the dislocation of self and the transformative experiences of refugee life. She teaches courses that engage post-colonial and feminist perspectives on issues of race, class, gender and sexuality as these intersect with processes of social change and social justice.