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Sociology: Events


A workshop on Caste and Politics in Contemporary Tamil Nadu

A workshop on Caste and Politics in Contemporary Tamil Nadu
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Date and Time
18th Dec 2013 09:00 - 18th Dec 2013 20:00
McEwan Hall Reception Room

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A day-long seminar to discuss current developments in the following fields. Each session will be opened and chaired by an expert who will facilitate a discussion and the exchange of ideas.

Format: Please note; we are not expecting participants to give papers. No need to prepare a paper or power point slides. So much has happened with regard to politics and caste in Tamil Nadu in recent years that we are aiming for productive debates between scholars rather than a series of papers. Each session will start with some five-minute presentations before the floor will be opened for questions, comments and discussion. Please do try and keep these opening comments short and use them to raise questions that can be explored in greater depth during the session.

 Funding: The workshop is being held thanks to an ESRC grant (ES/J001732/1) focused on ‘Dalit Politics and Democratisation in Tamil Nadu’. In this project Hugo Gorringe is revisiting previous work on Dalit movements in Tamil Nadu and seeking to chart their institutionalisation into political parties. He will be working with Roger Jeffery to analyse changing trends in Dalit voting in the state too. The project is primarily based on qualitative, ethnographic fieldwork in Tamil Nadu.

Aims: The seminar is intended to be both a dissemination event for the ESRC grant above and an opportunity to discuss key developments in the Tamil politics of caste over the past few years. The intention is to create a network of scholars working in these fields and to enhance our understanding of contemporary caste dynamics.

Venue: The seminar will be held in the McEwan Hall Reception Room:

Access is gained via the Medical Quad to the rear of the McEwan Hall, at Doorway 2. Basically you’re your way to McEwan Hall in Bristo Square then walk along the road until you reach a quad immediately behind the building. The conference room is up a flight of stairs at the back of the hall.


9.00-9.30: TEA/COFFEE

9.30-10.45: Session 1

Dalit Politics in Tamil Nadu: Corrupt and co-opted or generating change?


Ravikumar: Legislating for Change?

Hugo Gorringe: Institutionalisation and the decline in radicalism?

10.45-11.15: TEA/COFFEE

11.15-12.45: Session 2

Intermediate Caste Politics: Retrenching dominance or responding to decline?


Geert de Neve: Not so Chinna Gounders?

Andrew Wyatt: The decline of Dravidian Parties and the emergence of Multipartism?

D. Karthikeyan: Thevar Jeyathi and the performance of dominance

12.45 – 13.15 LUNCH

13.15-14.30: Session 3

Caste through a gender lens: dowry, honour killings and celebrations of chastity


S. Anandhi: OBC politics, crisis of masculinity and en/gendering of caste politics

Nitya Rao: Caste and Kinship: Women’s Work and Agency in Rural South India

14.30-15.45: Session 4

Caste, NGOs and Development


Nicholas Chinnappan: Land Rights

David Mosse: Caste and Development

15.45-16.15: TEA/COFFEE

16.15-17.30: Session 5 

Dravidianism and Dalit Politics?


Rupa Viswanath: Sathiyavani Muthu and the absence of Dravidian Dalits

Gajendran Ayyathurai: Dravidianism and the betrayal of Tamil Buddhists  


Concluding Remarks and Comments

Chair: Hugo Gorringe