• Who organizes the conference?
    The Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the University of Windsor.
  • What is the role of the organizing committee?
    The committee, consisting of scholars and students, conceptualizes, plans and hosts the conference. Within the committee different members have different roles and responsibilities but the committee as a whole runs the conference.
  • What are the goals of the conference?
    The primary goal is to stimulate and support the development of Tamil Studies in Toronto. For a full list of goals see the main page of the website.
  • Who finances the conference?
    Various departments at the University of Toronto and Windsor provide some funds for the conference, as do individuals and businesses. The registration fees also meets a portion of the expenses.
  • Who receives and manages the funds?
    The University of Toronto.
  • Who can answer questions about the funding of the conference?
    Ms. Eileen Lam, at the Asian Institute, University of Toronto: eileen.lam@utoronto.ca 416-946-8997
  • What are the political affiliations of the conference?
    The conference has none: it is organized by the Universities of Toronto and Windsor. Individual members of the organizing committee and conference volunteers, of course may have varying views and interests, but these are not pertinent to their participation in organizing the conference.
  • Who can present papers at the conference?
    Scholars, students, writers, journalists, artists, performers, activists and others who can present scholarly papers on subjects relevant to the conference themes can present papers at the conference.
  • How are participants selected for the conference?
    The plenary speakers and on occasion a few others are invited to present individual papers or form panels. But the vast majority are selected by submitting an ·  abstract in response to the call for papers.
  • What are the criteria of selection?
    The selection is made by an abstract evaluation committee. That committee strives to maintain strong academic standards, while ensuring that a mixture of senior scholars, students, artists, performers, writers and activists are represented at the conference.
  • Why are some papers rejected?
    Primarily, because more abstract submissions are received than can be accommodated. In the last two years almost 100 abstracts were submitted. Even though the number of presenters was increased from 54 to 72 this year, given the pre-acceptance of invited panels, almost half the submissions could not be accommodated. Likewise, in order to maintain the diversity of presenters and topics, some proposals are not accommodated, because even though they meet scholarly standards there may be multiple submissions of that kind.
  • Who meets the costs of the participating scholars?
    The conference only meets the costs of plenary speakers and a limited number of participants from South Asia. The overwhelming majority of the participants meet their own costs from their university grants.
  • Who can attend the conference?
    Any interested individual who pays the registration fee can attend. Although academic conferences are not to everyone’s taste, any person with the intellectual curiosity to learn more about current scholarship and scholarly debates on the history, culture, language, politics, religion, arts, performance traditions, literature and society of the Tamil regions and the Tamil Diasporas will find it of interest.
  • Why is the registration fee so high for attendees?
    The registration fee is actually quite low for an academic conference. All the registration fees for attendees are subsidized, and seniors and students receive a further reduced rate. The fees charged do not actually meet the full costs of the meals, space, equipment and brochure costs per person.
  • Why is the conference conducted in English?
    Just as the universities in Toronto conduct conferences on Chinese or French studies in English, this conference is also conducted in English. But the organizers strive to make sure that there are some panels in Tamil and that significant parts of the conference publicity materials are presented in Tamil. This is relatively unusual for a university conference in Toronto, especially for the South Asian region.
  • Why are so few papers presented in Tamil?
    The limited number of papers in Tamil reflects the limited number of Tamil abstracts that are submitted.
  • Why are papers on Sanskrit, or Kannada or Sinhala presented at a Tamil Studies conference?
    Any linguistic tradition, community and their productions that were or are present within the Tamil regions are relevant subjects of study for Tamil Studies. Likewise languages, cultures and communities that have impacted the Tamil regions and the Tamil Diaspora are also relevant subjects for Tamil Studies.
  • Why are the artistic images displayed on the website or presented at the conference not reflective of traditional Tamil images?
    The images and sculptures created by contemporary Tamil artists in South Asia or the Diaspora are equally a part of what constitutes Tamil images as any historic image or sculpture.
  • What can increase the participation of South Asia based scholars and students?
    The organizing committee is eager to support the participation of South Asia based presenters. But this, almost always, requires fully funding the costs of their travel and stay and for this increased funding would be required.
  • Can donors’ specify that their contributions be set aside to support the participation of South Asia based scholars and students?
    The organizing committee would be happy to welcome financial contributions that are targeted at increasing the participation of South Asia based scholars and students, including those from underrepresented communities. Likewise, they would be happy to welcome contributions to support the participation of scholars from the older “diasporas”, such as Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Guyana, Malaysia etc.