Research Expertise and Interest
Tamil studies, literature, film and digital culture
Vasugi Kailasam is an assistant professor in the Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies. Her research concerns global Tamil literatures, postcolonial literature and filmic and digital cultures of contemporary South Asia and its diasporas. Specifically, her work examines narrative forms and its connections to South Asian cultural identity formations, race and ethnic politics. She is currently working on two research projects. Her first project is a book monograph titled Tamil Realisms: Reading the global Tamil novel, investigates the idea literary aesthetics, particularly the mode of realism in narrating the space of the global Tamil novel produced within India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. The second project, Post Millennial Tamil Visual Cultures, arises from her work on global Tamil popular cultural production. This study explores the contemporary idioms of Tamil cinema and other social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram and the linkages of the visual image to modernity, Tamil identities and gendered spectatorship patterns.
Her research has been published/ forthcoming in Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of South Asian Popular Culture, Postcolonial Text and Tamil Cinema in the 21st Century: Politics, Genre and Technology. Before coming to UC Berkeley, she convened the Tamil Studies program housed at the South Asian Studies Programme (SASP), at the National University of Singapore from 2015- 2019.