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New contact details

September 5, 2018

Please note that as of September 2018 my contact details have changed as I have moved jobs. I am now at the University of Gloucestershire, UK and can be contacted at

Please feel free to send me any information, news, publications, calls for papers etc. which may be of interest to network members.


Contributors sought for edited volume on Tamil diasporas

August 14, 2018

I have been contacted by Dr Peter Vethanayagamony of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Working with a Delhi-based publisher, Dr Vethanayagamony is editing a volume on Tamil diasporas. He is looking for contributors to write chapters (approx. 5,000 words) on Tamil populations in different countries around the world, including European countries as well as Australia, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Caribbean Island, Fiji etc. The chapters can address any aspects of the life of Tamils in the given country or state, and the editors are particularly keen to include work from authors of Tamil heritage (although this is not a requirement of participation). If you are interested or have further queries please contact Dr Vethanayahamony directly at and please share with anyone else not in this network who may be interested.

New network member – Dr Jasmine Hornabrook

August 13, 2018

Dr Jasmine Hornabrook is an Institute of Musical Research Early Career Fellow and Associate lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

She completed her PhD in 2016, with a thesis entitled ‘Becoming one again: Music and Transnationalism in London’s Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora’. This thesis was based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in the UK, South India and Sri Lanka and explored how transnational musical networks facilitate physical and imagined diasporic regatherings, particularly for the highly-dispersed Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Jasmine’s post-doctoral work focused on the performance of Tamil devotional songs in London’s Saiva Hindu temples and she is now researching musical creativity and innovation amongst second-generation Sri Lankan Tamil musicians in London. Jasmine has published several articles from her research to date, including: ‘Songs of the Saints: Song Paths and Pilgrimage in London’s Tamil Hindu Diaspora’ in Asian Music, ‘South Indian singing, digital dissemination and belonging in London’s Tamil diaspora’ in Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, and ‘Tamil folk music as Dalit liberation theology’ in Ethnomusicology Forum. 

South Asian Diaspora International Researchers’ Network

August 1, 2017

Network members may be interested in a new South Asian Diaspora International Researchers’ Network, set-up by Monash University, Australia. Information here.

Many thanks to Niru Perera for bringing this to our attention.

New articles on religiosity among Tamil Hindu youths in Norway

August 1, 2017

Network member Hildegunn Valen Kleive has recently published two articles (one in English and another in Norwegian) looking at religiosity among young Tamil Hindus in rural Norway.

The first (in English), ‘Belonging and Discomfort: Young Hindu Religiosity in Rural Norway’ is published in the Nordic Journal of Religion and Society and may be accessed here.

The second ‘Mestring og balanse. Trekk ved ung hindureligiøsitet’ is published in Prismet and may be accessed here. An English translation will follow at a later date.

If other network members have news that they would like to share via this blog, please email Demelza at

PhD thesis – Talking Tamil, Talking Saivism: Language practices in a Tamil Hindu temple in Australia

August 1, 2017

Network member Nirukshi (Niru) Perera has completed her PhD at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Many congratulations Niru!

The thesis  – Talking Tamil, Talking Saivism: Language practices in a Tamil Hindu temple in Australia – is available to read here.


Hinduism is growing in its influence and significance both in Australia and internationally. The development of India as a superpower and the rise of Hindu nationalism in India are indicators of this growing influence.

In Australia all censuses since 2001 point to Hinduism as the fastest-growing non-Christian religion yet the phenomena of Hinduism in Australia is relatively under researched. Furthermore, non-white immigration and multiculturalism are once more under the spotlight in Australia with the government’s proposed changes to the English language requirements for citizenship, and with the recent release of the 2016 census results. The figure for the number of people who speak Tamil at home has grown by 45% since the 2011 census, and is now approximately 74,000 people. This means that for the part of the Australian population that speaks a language other than English at home, Tamil is the 13th top language.

Therefore, this research is a timely report on the experiences of Sri Lankan migrants and a focus on the role that language and religion play in their lives in Australia and in the formation of identities for the second- and third- generation. In fact, this is the first thesis to focus on the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Australia.

Niru conducted an ethnographic study in a Tamil Hindu temple to investigate what languages are used in the temple space and to show how the temple, as a religious institution, is helping migrants to maintain and transmit the Tamil language and Saiva religion to the next generation.

The study found that the temple has a positive influence on the development of young Tamils’ religious, ethnic and linguistic identities and it provides a safe space for children to use Tamil in a new way. This new way is termed “translanguaging” and it allows for children to use all their languages often resulting in speech that mixes Tamil and English. While English is generally their stronger language, their use of Tamil in translanguaging is evidence of the significant influence of their heritage religion and culture in their contemporary Australian lives.

If other network members have any news they would like to share via this blog, please contact Demelza on

PILC Tamil language summer school

March 8, 2017

I’ve received the following correspondence from the organisers of the annual Tamil language summer school for researchers, held in Puducherry, South India:

Dear Sir/Madam

PILC is organising Tamil Summer School 2017 (TSS-2017) from 31 July to 09 September. The brochure  and application form have been attached. The information on TSS-2017 may kindly be displayed for notice and also forwarded to those who are interested in participating in the Tamil Summer School – 2017.
With regards
(Dr. S. Bakthavatsala Bharathi)