“Open Borders: Translation and its Perils”
Conference Organizers: Professors Alexandra Coller and Amin Erfani
(Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, CUNY)
Location: Virtual via Zoom
Date: October 15-16, 2021
“Open Borders: Translation and its Perils” aims to explore the theory and practices of translation across world languages, disciplines, and genres throughout the ages. In times of border walls and banishment based on ethnicity, religion, and origins, there is an increasing risk of subjecting world cultures, literature and knowledge to a single overarching lingua franca, or leveling the diversity of languages to idioms of a few dominant ones. Translation is in peril most when, instead of accounting for what resists transparency in the original language, it washes down the untranslatable to digestible bits, intended for a select readership of a few major languages. Too often we forget, for instance, that Aristotle’s major books were rediscovered by the western world through their Arabic translations, during the Middle Ages. Indeed, translation is in peril of eliminating the foreignness of the original work and assimilating its alterity, rather than presenting it, as it should, in the form of the other.
The focus of this colloquium is on translation within and across a variety of genres and disciplines, which will open borders toward the other aspects of intellectual history, cultures, and literature, throughout the ages. We will examine translations of various registers ranging from drama or poetry to medical or historical books of past and recent centuries. We also welcome the wider notion of translation, not just between languages, but between genres and disciplines: from text to performance art, from painting or sculpting to gastronomy or sign language, etc. We are interested in exploring the craft of translation beyond a mere utilitarian tool, as form of performance in and of itself.
This conference is sponsored by the Dean of Arts & Humanities at Lehman College, Prof. James Mahon, the departments of PhD in Comparative Literature, French, Italian, and Spanish at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The organizers welcome proposals for papers and panels from researchers, graduate and postgraduate students, independent scholars, writers and translators. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Translating the untranslatable
- Translation of trauma between languages and genres
- Translation across disciplines
- Translation as performance and/or creative act
- Transmission of world intellectual history through translation
- Transmission of world cultures and literatures through translation
- Translation within borders/Translation without borders
- Translation as hospitality
- Translation and politics of exclusion/inclusion
- Translation of singularities in a globalized world
Keynote speaker is Christopher Winks (Queens College, City University of New York).
All languages are welcome, however, papers must be in English and intelligible to an English-speaking audience.
Please send us an abstract of your paper (300 words) or a panel (including topic, names of speakers and 300 words on each paper) by MAY 1st, 2021. The program will be announced and registration will open on September 1st, 2021.
Please include a short biography, your email address and institutional affiliation (if any). All abstracts, as well as queries, should be sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by MAY 1st, 2021.