AccueilTamil and Tamil Akam at the Crossroads

*  *  *

Publié le vendredi 26 novembre 2010 par Karim Hammou

Résumé

The objective of the conference is to examine Tamil Nadu as an example of a geographical space where multiple cultures met, exchanged, and absorbed from outside, while Tamil maintained until recent times its unique ancient traditions. To bring together an international cadre of scholars who work in diverse disciplines that focus on a single region is to create new knowledge as is the way of any innovative conference. The fourteen scholars participating in the event bring a range of disciplinary perspectives to the idea of Tamil and Tamil Akam as a crossroads of cultures and a locus of international exchange in both the arts and sciences.

Annonce

International Conference with UC Davis, University of California,USA

Long before Europe moved abroad to explore and conquer, both European and Indian goods and cultural artifacts, as well as ideas and rituals had traveled abroad in a tributary system of cultural and monetary exchange. Discovering first-century Roman coins and Italian pottery in South India provides material evidence of such international exchange reaching back at least 2000 years. Recent work on the exchange of ideas between India and Ancient Greece lends palpable force to a “globalism” of ideas long before the currency of such jargon. Evidence of world literary circulation certainly goes back to the same time. With easy access to the sea, for at least the last two thousand years South India has been the exporter and importer of cultural and material goods in an ongoing cross-cultural exchange, whether with the North of India, with China, from across the Indian Ocean to Africa, or with Persia, the Middle East, and Europe. The consequences of French occupation of Pondicherry in the nineteenth-century and until the 1950s (after Indian independence from Britain) also assured that French Enlightenment culture penetrated the region. The French Institute in Pondicherry became the center for collecting and archiving Tamil Nadu’s cultural artifacts and environmental history. Tamil Nadu, the home of the only still-living ancient culture and language in India, openly received the influences of Sanskrit and Vedic cultures, traded with Romans, Greeks, and Arabs, while noting the cultural practices they brought with them ; after the Mughal conquest of India in the Middle Ages, Tamil Nadu absorbed Mughal styles and cultural forms ; in the anti-British colonial struggles of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, Tamil Nadu offered an exilic home to North Indians like the poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and the philosopher Aurobindo Ghosh, as well as to Europeans like Romain Rolland. At the same time, Tamil retained its unique ancient and medieval artistic, literary, musical, and dance traditions standing against massive colonial pressures.

Northern India and Delhi, in particular as cultural crossroads, have long been the focus of academic interest and study, but it is only in recent years that scholars have turned their attention to the Indian peninsula. Some of this scholarship looks outward to the manner in which south Indian-Tamil cultural knowledge arrived on the shores of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. This new scholarship has examined the conversations that occurred between South and Southeast Asia, as the great temples of the Khmer empire were built, or the imperial project of the Chola dynasty that controlled much of the south from the ninth through thirteenth centuries. Still other scholarship looks inward to the manner in which the south absorbed, adapted and transformed outside influences from within. These influences range from the presence of the early Greeks (Yavanas, Ionians) attested to in the earliest strata of south Indian literature (1-3 CE), to the Muslim Sultanate established in the heart of the south in the thirteenth century whose presence is felt even to this day in the recovery of lost images of the gods. A still third influence exists, with the emergence of British and French colonialism in the early nineteenth century. Interest in British, French, and German literature rubbed shoulders in cosmopolitan polyglot kingdoms such as Tanjavur. Here, at the dawn of colonialism in south India, a polyglot king whose dynasty hailed from an area on the western coast of India, was tutored by a German missionaries, studied and collected the European classics, while expanding the Saraswathi Mahal Library, one of the great libraries of India, to archive his astounding collection of printed books on history and literature, illustrated botanical and medical books, and an extensive manuscript collection.

The objective of the conference is to examine Tamil Nadu as an example of a geographical space where multiple cultures met, exchanged, and absorbed from outside, while Tamil maintained until recent times its unique ancient traditions. To bring together an international cadre of scholars who work in diverse disciplines that focus on a single region is to create new knowledge as is the way of any innovative conference. The fourteen scholars participating in the event bring a range of disciplinary perspectives to the idea of Tamil and Tamil Akam as a crossroads of cultures and a locus of international exchange in both the arts and sciences.

Programme 

December 17, 2010

Welcome Remarks

09:00 - 09:30 : Prof. Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, Director, French Institute of Pondicherry

Session 1

  • 09:00 - 09:30 : "Sri Aurobindo and Dante" Brenda Deen Schildgen, University of California, Davis
  • 10:00 - 10:30 : "East-West Conversions: Lutheran Missionaries in Eighteenth-Century South India" Gail Finney, University of California, Davis
  • 10:30 - 11:00 : "The Empire of Enthusiasm: Sydney Owenson’s The Missionary: An Indian Tale" Kari Lokke, University of California, Davis

11:00 - 11:15 : Tea Break

11:15 - 12:00 : Discussion of Papers

12:00 - 14:00 : Lunch

Session 2

  • 14:00 - 14:30 : "East meets West: The Unusual Life and Thought of Frances Swiney (1847-1922)" Allison Coudert, University of California, Davis
  • 14:30 - 15:15 : "Translation, Conversion and the 'Ambidextrous Subject:' A. Madhaviah’s Clarinda as a Social Reform Novel" Kristen Bergman, University of California, Davis

15:15 - 15:30 : Tea Break

15:30 - 16:15 : Discussion of Papers

16:15 - 16:30 : Tea Break

Key note address

16:30 - 18:00 : " Scientific Dialogues in Nineteenth-Century Tanjore: King Serfoji II’s Initiatives in Enlightenment and Indic Knowledge Systems"  Indira Viswanathan Peterson, Mount Holyoke College

18:30 : Dinner

December 18, 2010

Session 3

  • 08:30 - 09:00 : "Translation of Kuruntokai into French: Challenges and Proposals" S. A. Vengada Soupraya Nayagar, Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate Studies
  • 09:00 - 09:30 : "Literary Traditions of Tamils through Palm Leaf Manuscripts" P. Perumal, Saraswathi Mahal Library

09:30 - 10:15 : Discussion of Papers

Session 4

  • 10:30 - 11:00 : "On the Languages of the Commons in Tamil Nadu: A Theoretical Exploration"
    Vijaya Nagrajan, University of San Francisco
  • 11:00 - 11:30 : "Global Mylapore and Artistic Labor" Priya Srinivasan, University of California, Riverside

11:30 - 12:15 : Discussion of Papers

12:15 - 14:00 : Lunch

Session 5

  • 14:00 - 14:30 : "The Posthumous Fortunes of Pacchaiyappa Mudaliar" Sumathi Ramaswamy, Duke University
  • 14:30 - 15:00 : "Pedagogy at Crossroads: Bama Speaks Differently" Susaimanickam Armstrong, University of Madras

15:00 - 15:45 : Discussion of Papers

15:45 - 16:00 : Tea Break

Closing comments

16:00 - 16:15 :

  • Yellava Subbarayalu, French Institute of Pondicherry
  • Muthukrishnan Kannan, French Institute of Pondicherry

18:00 : Dinner

Lieux

  • Inde), Jawaharlal Nehru Conference Hall French Institute of Pondicherry, 11, Saint Louis Street
    Pondichéry, Inde

Dates

  • vendredi 17 décembre 2010
  • samedi 18 décembre 2010

Mots-clés

  • Ifp, Institut français de Pondichéry, Ifre, Instituts français de recherche à l'étranger, Inde, Inde du Sud, Tamil Nadu

Contacts

  • Kannan M.
    courriel : kannan [dot] m [at] ifpindia [dot] org

Source de l'information

  • Nicolas de Lavergne
    courriel : delavergne [at] msh-paris [dot] fr

Pour citer cette annonce

« Tamil and Tamil Akam at the Crossroads », Colloque, Calenda, Publié le vendredi 26 novembre 2010, http://calenda.org/202682