Chicago Tamil Forum 2021: Caste and Community in Modern Tamilagam

May 13-15, 2021

Virtual Event

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.

This forum (to be held May 13–15, 2021) will feature a public keynote by Francis Cody (University of Toronto) on Thursday, May 13 at 4pm, followed by the workshop (May 14–15), with papers discussed by Pranathi Diwakar (University of Chicago), Victoria Gross (University of Chicago), Radha Kumar (Syracuse University), Karthick Ram Manoharan (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta), Eleonore Rimbault (University of Chicago), and Davesh Soneji (University of Pennsylvania). For more information, e-mail Constantine V. Nakassis (, or visit