CTF 2021: Caste and Community in Modern Tamilagam

May 13-15, 2021

The Tamil-speaking worlds of South Asia and beyond are finely reticulated socially, organized by multiple invidious logics: of caste, religion, sect, class, language, and so on. In many ways, the history and culture of modern Tamilagam can be narrated through the transformations, and reproductions, of caste and community logics: from transformations under conditions of coloniality, the formation of the nation-state, the Dravidian movement, liberalization, and rearticulations of religious nationalisms and crises of ethnolinguistic and religious identity politics that have followed. This workshop probes the contours of caste and community with an eye to how, across now-centuries of social science on caste and community in South India, we can theorize their dynamic logics and pragmatics.

Thursday, May 13, 2021, Keynote Lecture

– Francis Cody (University of Toronto), “Law at Large: Notes on the Public Mediation of Community in the Juridical Field

Friday, May 14, 2021 Workshop

– Davesh Soneji (University of Pennsylvania, South Asia Regional Studies), “Birthing a Caste: The Gendered Political Origins of the Icai Vellalar in Modern Tamil Nadu”

– Pranathi Diwakar (University of Chicago, Sociology), “Musical Politics: Caste, Urban Segregation, and Boundary-Making in Chennai”

– Eléonore Rimbault (University of Chicago, Anthropology), “On the Production of Circus Life and Its Image by Tamil Media Industries”

Saturday, May 15, 2021 Workshop

– Karthick Ram Manoharan (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow, University of Wolverhampton), “Is this a Sudra Critique? Periyar and the Intermediate Castes

– Victoria Gross (University of Chicago, MAPSS program), “Constructing a Caste in the Past: Revisionist Histories and Competitive Authority in South India”

– Radha Kumar (Syracuse University, Department of History), “Policing, Community, and Capitalism in 20th-Century India”