Constantine V. Nakassis Office: Haskell 324 Phone: (773) 834-4810 Email
Professor, Department of Anthropology

Constantine V. Nakassis is a linguistic anthropologist with interests in semiotics; mass media and film theory; trademark law, brands, and counterfeiting; and youth culture. His regional focus is Tamil Nadu, India. He is currently working on a book about Tamil cinema, entitled Onscreen/Offscreen. He organizes the annual Chicago Tamil Forum workshop.


n.d. Onscreen/Offscreen. Book manuscript in preparation. University of Chicago Press. 

2016. Doing Style: Youth and Mass Mediation in South India. University of Chicago Press.

Articles, Book Chapters, etc.

n.d. "Bus Routes." Working Paper (email for a copy)

2020 (in press). "The Hero's Mass and the Ontological Politics of the Image." Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (formerly, Cinema Journal).

2020 (in press). (w/E. Annamalai) "Linguistic Diversity in South Asia, Reconsidered." In J. Stanlaw, ed. The International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology. Wiley.

2019. (in press) "The Ontological Politics of the Spoof Image in Tamil Cinema.” New Review of Film and Television Studies 17(4)

2019. “Poetics of Praise and Image-Texts of Cinematic Encompassment.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 29(1):69–94.

2018. (w/Amanda Weidman) "Vision, Voice, and Cinematic Presence." differences 29(3):107–36.

2018. "Indexicality's Ambivalent Ground." Special Issue - (Meta)Semiosis and Social Life: Essays in Honor of Michael Silverstein, Signs and Society 6(1):281–304.

2017. "Rajini's Finger, Indexicality, and the Metapragmatics of Presence." Signs and Society 5(2):201–42.

2016. "Scaling Red and the Horror of Trademark." In E. S. Carr and M. Lempert, eds. Scale: Discourse and Dimensions of Social Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 159–84.

2016. "Linguistic Anthropology in 2015: Not the Study of Language." American Anthropologist 118(2):330–45.

2016. “Spoofs and the Politics of the Film Image’s Ontology in Tamil Cinema." Working Papers of the Chicago Tamil Forum - Politics of Media, Media of Politics (May 19–21, 2016).

2015. "A Tamil-speaking Heroine." BioScope 6(2):165–86.

2015. Review of Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky. Chaise LaDousa. New York: Berghahn Books, 2014. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 25(3):358–60.

2015. Review of The Right Spouse: Preferential Marriages in Tamil Nadu. Isabelle Clark-Decès. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. Journal of Anthropological Research 71(2):268–70.

2014. "Suspended Kinship and Youth Sociality in Tamil Nadu, India." Current Anthropology 55(2):175–99. (With comments from Asif Agha, Bernard Bate, Francis Cody, Chris Gregory, and Michael Silverstein, and a reply from C. Nakassis.)

2014. "Realism, On and Off the Screen." In Anand Pandian, ed. Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English Translation. Chennai: Blaft Publications, pp. 217–23.

2014. (w/Kausalya Hart and Anand Pandian) “Subramaniyapuram: The Screenplay (by M. Sasikumar).” (translation) In Anand Pandian, ed. Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English Translation. Chennai: Blaft Publications, pp. 1–205. 

2013. "Materiality, Materialization." A Comment on Hull, Matthew. 2012. Government of Paper. Berkeley: University of California Press. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3(3):399–406. 

2013. "The Quality of a Copy." In T. Kuldova, ed. Fashion India: Spectacular Capitalism. Trondheim: Akademika forlag, pp. 142–65.

2013. "Citation and Citationality." Signs and Society 1(1) (April):51–78. 

2013. "Youth Masculinity, 'Style', and the Peer Group in Tamil Nadu, India." Contributions to Indian Sociology 47(2):245-269, theme issue, Social Value Projects in Post-liberalisation India (eds. C. Nakassis and L. Searle).

2013. (w/Llerena Searle) "Introduction: Social Value Projects in Post-liberalisation India.” Contributions to Indian Sociology 47(2):169–83, theme issue, Social Value Projects in Post-liberalisation India (eds. C. Nakassis and L. Searle).

2013. "Brands and Their Surfeits." Cultural Anthropology 28(1):111–26, part of theme issue on Brand Neoliberalism (ed. C. Nakassis).

2013. "Introduction: Brand Neoliberalism." Cultural Anthropology 28(1):110, part of theme issue on Brand Neoliberalism (ed. C. Nakassis).

2013. "Para-s/cite, Part I: The Parasite." The Semiotic Review (N.S.) 1 (May), special issue on Parasites. 

2013. "Para-s/cite, Part II: The Paracite." The Semiotic Review (N.S.) 1 (June), special issue on Parasites. 

2012. "Brand, Citationality, Performativity." American Anthropolgist 114(4):624–38.

2012. "Counterfeiting What? Aesthetics of Brandedness and BRAND in Tamil Nadu, India." Anthropological Quarterly 85(3):701–22, special issue on Piracy.

2012. Review of Social Dimensions of Modern Tamil (2011) (by E. Annamalai). Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22(3):261–63.

2012. Review of Hip Hop Desis (2010) (by N. Sharma). Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22(3):277–79.

2010. Youth and Status in Tamil Nadu, India. PhD Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania.

2009. "Theorizing Realism Empirically." New Cinemas 7(3):211–35.

2007. (w/Melanie Dean) "Desire, Youth, and Realism in Tamil Cinema." Journal of Linguistic Anthropolgy 17(1):77–104.

2005. "Formalizing Context." Review of Gauker, D. (2003) Words without Meaning. Theory and Psychology 15(1):128–31.

2002. (w/Jesse Snedeker) "Beyond Sarcasm: Intonation and Context as Relational Cues in Children's Recognition of Irony." Proceedings of the Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development 26(2):429–40.