CTF 2020: Tamil Images

October 9-10, 2020

The Tamil-speaking worlds of South Asia and beyond are rich sites of diverse image cultures stretching from antiquity to the present and ranging across a number of different media and modalities: from images woven in oral and written literature, religious iconography, dance, the plastic arts (painting, sculpture, architecture), to modern media of photography, film, and social media. This year’s workshop brings together scholars from a range of disciplines (anthropology, art history, cinema and media studies, history, literary studies) to explore a rich selection of such image-types, working towards clarifying the different modes of imagistic being, aesthetic ideologies that animate them, and the pragmatic processes that they mediate and set off in the worlds in which they participate. Central questions guiding the workshop theme include the following: in what ways can we speak of the image in the Tamil-speaking world? Or even Tamil images? In what ways do images in Tamilagam participate in wider media worlds and communities of practice “beyond” the boundaries inscribed by either the modifier Tamil or the head of the noun phrase, image? And finally, in what ways does an investigation of Tamil images illuminate more general concerns in disciplines such as art history, visual studies, film studies, and media anthropology as to the nature of images and their study?

October 9–10, 2020 (rescheduled due to COVID-19)

Friday, October 9, 2020

– Anna Seastrand (University of Minnesota), “Staging Kingship: Time, Presence, Media.”

– Lisa Owen (North Texas University), “Icon/ic Jain Landscapes in Early Medieval Tamil Nadu.”

– Indira Peterson (Mount Holyoke College), “Representing ‘Tamil’ Communities in Tanjore Company Paintings: Indigenous and Intersecting Ethnographies.”

Saturday, October 10, 2020

– Zoé Headley (CNRS, Paris), “Beyond the Portrait: Investigating the Latent Archive of Commercial Studio Photography (Tamil Nadu, 1880–1980).”

– Lalitha Gopalan (University of Texas, Austin), “Tamil New Wave Cinemas.” (Published in Cinemas Dark and Slow in Digital India [Palgrave Macmillan, 2020])

– Swarnavel Eswaran (Michigan State University), “The Tamil Image in Cinema: Production, Reception, and Technology.”