Tamil Studies academics meet in Canada

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 06:58 GMT]
For the sixth year, the Tamil Studies Conference that attracts academics and research students mainly from the academic institutions of the North American continent was held at the New College of the University of Toronto, between May 14 and 15. Prof. Daud Ali, Chair of the Department of South Asia Studies of the University of Pennsylvania and Feminist theorist and historian Ms. V. Geetha from Tamil Nadu delivered the keynote addresses of the two-day conference in which over 30 academics presented papers. A highlight of the conference was two panel discussions on Eezham Tamil refugees, one on structural violence against them and the other on the first arrival of Tamil boat refugees to Newfoundland, 25 years ago.

Professor Daud Ali
Professor Daud Ali
George Hart
Veteran Tamil scholar George Hart at the conference
Ms. V. Geetha
Ms. V. Geetha
While Sasikumar Balasingham of the University of South Carolina discussed structural violence against Tamil refugees, "Risky Voyages: Tamil refugees on a boat," the other panel discussion, featured academics, Refugee lawyers and Tamil refugee activists.

Mr Arul S Aruliah, a pioneer Tamil refugee activist presented a historical account related to the boat's arrival and Canada's response back in 1986. Gary Anandasangaree and Hadayt Nazami- two of the lawyers assisting Tamil refugees that arrived on board MV Sun Sea and Ocean Lady discussed the legal, humanitarian and political challenges faced by Tamil refugees in Canada today. Professor Sharry Aiken, (Queen's University, Canada), offered a comparative perspective on immigration security measures in Canada, the US and Australia, highlighting the deteriorating conditions for Tamil refugees internationally.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Parimaa’nam: Images, Embodiment and Contestations,” exploring how images and aesthetic representations have imagined, embodied and destabilized ways of being Tamil.

The seventh annual Tamil Studies Conference for the next year is titled, " Traces of the Past", and will be held at the university of Toronto in May 2012, the organizers said.

The Universities of Toronto and Windsor jointly organize the annual Tamil Studies Conference.

"World Without Walls; Being Human; Being Tamil" a new book containing select conference papers from previous years was launched on the first day of the conference.

 

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