Telephone: +44(0)29 2087 5600
Fax: +44(0)29 2087 4946
Location: Room 2.26, 65-68 Park Place
In my research project I try to rethink what forms of cultural practice could be possible today, how culture(s) can be formulated within a fast moving technologised world, and what are the consequences of cultural ramifications. The tacit movens within this kind of framework is to outline and to re-shape the economics of identity and difference; what is the politics of eidos and its mediated eidolon and how does the signifié matches its corresponding signifiant?
My study tries to replace white and black approaches and it is in contrast with universal rights, the universality of action theories and the idea of hybridity as locus amoenus: there are no such things as clear boundaries, homeland, or culture. The thesis focuses on the idea of excess and power as theorised by Merleau-Ponty and Foucault. The idea of excess transgresses orders and allows us to express that the alien begins within ourselves: The alien is in- and ex-cluded at the same time. The politics of borders gets flexible – excess can be symbolised by the process of diffraction, as in a crystal ball, which highlights grey areas, thresholds and trans-formations.
Therefore, a theory of phenomenological translation, i.e a theory that understands translation as a human experience and embodiment, enables us to create a cultural diffracted being without identity. I am already a translation without there being an original (con)text. There is no clear distinction between words, pictures, facts and fiction. The prevalent form is to stress the gestalt and the appearance of objects. In other words the style, the expression and the enactment of practical happenings take place in small and dense descriptions: the way somebody enters the scene tells us a lot about what kind of codes are transported. Translation as an excess model busts the common notion of culture and highlights the idea of the ephemera - we have to learn to live within a non-located homeland.
Non-lieux de l’exil, FMSH Paris
Cambridge - Paris Series on South Asian Studies
Cardiff Research Group on Politics of Translating
2012 – Affiliated Scholar / University of Cambridge, Centre of South Asian Studies
2012 – Ph. D. in Translation Studies / Cardiff University, (AHRC-Scholarship)
2011 M. A. in Philosophy (Major) / Universität Luzern
2010 M. A. in Theology (Minor) / Universität Luzern
2008 B. A. in Political Science / Université de Genève
Sociology of Knowledge / Intellectual History / Anthropology of Sciences / Translation Studies / Tamil Cultural Studies
Tamil Cultural Studies
Re-enacting the Thesawalamai-Code
The Thesawalamai code is a juridical corpus of customary laws of the Tamils of Jaffna, collected by Claas Isaacs in 1707 and codified by the Dutch and British Regimes. However, having its roots in the ancient Dravidian traditions, it is still a component of the current jurisdiction in Sri Lanka: the code rules the property rights and inheritance practices in the Northern Province. Theses realms do not only represent and guarantee the individual property but they reflect on a fundamental level general social practices, codes and orders. My research interests are based on the genesis of this particularly law. How do different legal systems such as the Hindu Law, the Roman Dutch Law, the English law and other customary laws influence the Thesawalamai Code and vice versa? What kind of knowledge-exchange has been set up? And how are social practices and ideas shaped through this kind of exchanges? This comparative and historic perspective outlines a catabasis to understand how the enactment of law disciplines and neutralises the genesis of (social) bodies.
The Exile of Jaffna-Tamils
Hence, the research on the Thesawalamai Code allows me to operationalise the code as a figuration to rethink and retrace the topos Jaffna-Tamil-Exile. What are the reproduction and the enactment of this codification in the diaspora? How do education, the institution marriage and the caste system influence the daily life of Jaffna Tamils in the exile? This kind of questioning highlights the exile as a non-place - it is a non-place and a non-practice that outlines narration of confusion and of rupture. My interest is not to outline a so-called sociological survey but rather the effects of a metaphorology of exile experiences.
Xenology-Studies: a metonymy of the alien
How can we think and recognise the foreigner, the expatriate, the black-man, the psycho, the homosexual, the xenon in general by questioning who they are? In short, they represent the ground of the granted and secure base of a certain historical way of knowledge production. Hence, the strange infiltrates the polis, the order, the linguistic usage, etc. but at last he/she is not able to remove the existing and the very own order-setting. So, the xenon is nothing more than the reflected image of its being. Hence, I am interested to see how the status of the xenon, the alien, the excluded, the sub-altern and non-human can be questioned. The aim is to sort out the carbonising moments and to highlight them through the liquefaction of crisis, their heterotopies, and polyphonies by trying to reformulate a typology of action: there are no such things as clear boundaries, homeland, or culture. Translation will be in this setting a crucial movement: xenology operationalised by the modes of translation infiltrates knowledge, cultural work-practices and order-schemes. Through the un-presupposed stance, it evokes new forms of questioning, of testing, of invention, of perverting boundaries that can be experienced as a liberation-movement within cultural studies: we are discussing the stranger and at the same time we do not pretend to understand what we are speaking of. Something is shown whilst it is deprived. This is a non-substantial twist in approaching the xenon as operator for critical understanding of cultures and politics.