Accepted Paper:

Being at home elsewhere: Sri Lankan Tamils' productions of home in Toronto, Canada  


Gayathri Embuldeniya (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Paper short abstract:


Paper long abstract:

For many Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in Toronto, the concept of "home" has two resonances; that of their village, and that of Tamil Eelam, an imagined separate nation-state in Sri Lanka. Using two ethnographic examples, I will analyse how material culture is preserved and produced in the effort to remember and create home by Tamil migrants. The first case is that of Anselm, a Tamil man who fills his basement apartment in Toronto with paintings and models of his village. While expressing his sense of loss, these artefacts are also a way of emplacing himself in a new city, and symbolize his recreation of familial networks in a new landscape. The second case is a group of young Tamil musicians who remember home by recreating it through music infused with hip hop and whose lyrics showcase a militancy that would not have been permitted in their homeland.

Panel W018
Material culture, migration and the transnational imaginary