Sascha Ebeling — From Diasporic Tamil Literature to Global Tamil Literature: Tamilness and Tamil Authors, Texts, and Readers in Motion

Conférence de Sascha Ebeling, Associate Professor, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations & Department of Comparative Literature, University of Chicago.

Il s’agit de la troisième conférence de Sascha Ebeling en tant que directeur d’études invité de l’EHESS.

Le lundi 21 novembre 2016, de 10h à 12h, Salle 662 (6e étage, côté CEIAS), au « France ».

190 Avenue de France, 75013 Paris.

Résumé / Abstract

Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Tamil literature has become a global affair. When we look at the different places where Tamil literature is produced and circulated today, it becomes clear that we are no longer dealing with an exclusively South Indian or even South Asian phenomenon. Tamil authors and readers are writing and reading in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Toronto, Melbourne, Singapore, to name only a few larger metropolitan centers, and no longer only in South India or Sri Lanka. Tamil publishing houses and literary magazines have sprouted in France, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia and many other places. Books, newspapers and magazines produced in India can be bought in Tamil bookstores in Canada, France or Britain. Finally, one must mention the numerous web sites, online magazines and blogs dedicated to Tamil literature. The resulting picture is one of a flow of words, texts and ideas between multiple geographical locales, beyond nation states and local specificities. This has not always been the case. The shift towards a global Tamil literature has occurred very recently, during the last two decades or so. In this lecture, I will examine this new cultural phenomenon, what I would like to call the ‘globalization of Tamil’, or the emergence of what has been called ulakattamiḻ ‘global Tamil’. I trace the specific elements of Tamil’s transnational literary field and also attempt to outline a history of how this process developed since the mid-nineteenth century.


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