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Programme / Programm

Wednesday, 29 September

- 9:45 – 10:00 hrs. - 

Birgit Neumann (HHU Düsseldorf, Germany)

Welcome, Opening


- 10:00 – 12:00 hrs. -

Lecture & Workshop

Arvi Sepp (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

Alterity, Mobility, Multilingualism: Politics and Ethics of European Cultures of Translation


- 14:00 – 16:00 hrs. -

Lecture & Workshop

Rainer Guldin (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland)

Metaphors of Multilingualism in Contemporary European Literature

Thursday, 30 September

- 10:00 – 12:00 hrs. - 

Lecture & Workshop

Rebecca R. Gould & Kayvan Tahmasebian (University of Birmingham, UK)

Translation and Activism in the Time of the Now


- 14:00 – 16:00 hrs. -

Birgit Neumann, Vera Elisabeth Gerling & Eva Ulrike Pirker (HHU Düsseldorf, Germany)

Translation, Transnation: Topics, Methods, Approaches

Friday, 1 October

- 10:30 – 12:00 hrs. -

Lecture & Workshop

Marion Aptroot (HHU Düsseldorf, Germany)

Translation into Yiddish as a Means of Becoming a European Culture


- 14:30 – 16:00 hrs. -

Lecture & Workshop

Paul Bandia (Concordia University Montreal, Canada)

Translation, Postcoloniality, Migration


Abstracts

Prof. Dr. Marion Aptroot

Translation into Yiddish as a Means of Becoming a European Culture

From the earliest narrative texts in Yiddish that have come down to us from the Middle Ages, translation from other European languages into Yiddish has played a part. Text were translated to entertain, but also to convey new ideas or because the translator wanted to learn to master new text types. This lecture shows how translations of certain types of texts into Yiddish in the nineteenth and early twentieth century were intended to make the Jewish readership – or the translators themselves – more like educated Europeans.
 


Prof. Dr. Paul Bandia

Translation, Postcoloniality, Migration.

Building on the impact of postcolonial thought on the evolution of Translation Studies, my lecture will explore the specific understanding of translation theory and practice in relation to the postcolony and migrant communities. The postcolonial condition often determines the creative and aesthetic choices of artists and writers in contemporary societies shaped by the experiences of colonization and migration. In the current context of globalization, such experiences are often marginalized or minoritized by dominant language cultures that have assumed a global status owing to their long history of imperialism. There ensues a power imbalance within the global cultural and literary space which characterizes relations between the global North and the global South. This power asymmetry is foundational in the conceptualization of translation through the lens of colonization and postcolonialism. It is important to trace a continuum between the postcolony and migrant communities or the diaspora in order to grasp the relevance of postcoloniality in the artistic and literary productions emanating from linguistic and cultural minorities in the global literary market.


Prof. Rebecca R. Gould & Dr. Kayvan Tahmasebian

Translation and Activism in the Time of the Now

How do translators transform the world in which they work? In this presentation, we discuss the radically different ways in which translators engage with their social, political, cultural, and religious environment. Our first example is the Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh (1615-1659), who translated the Upanishads into Persian. Dara Shikoh believed that Islamic monotheism and Hindu henotheism differ only verbally and he aimed to make their convergence apparent in his resulting translation Majma-ul-Bahrain (The Mingling of the Two Oceans, c. 1655). We then turn to contemporary examples of translational activism, including Mona Baker's work on the Egyptian Revolution and the translation of dissent. Finally, we offer an overview of our edited volume, The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (2020), in which over thirty translators and activists reflect on the intersection between translation and activism. In particular, we focus on Gramsci's contribution as a theorist of translation in a European context who was interested in the ongoing relevance of classical Latin and medieval Italian literature to his political project. A common thread that runs through these various contributions is that translational activism is uniquely positioned to intervene in what Walter Benjamin called jetztzeit, "the time of the now."


Dr. Rainer Guldin

Metaphors of Multilingualism in Contemporary European Literature

In my introductory talk, which emerges from a broader study of metaphors of multilingualism in linguistics, literature and philosophy, I will discuss the importance of metaphors and their epistemological and creative potential in contemporary multilingual European literature. What do metaphors tell us about the author's understanding of language(s), language interaction, multilingual writing and multilingual identity? The metaphor cluster I want to focus on is that of body metaphors. To set the tone, I will begin with a few examples of the metaphor of the face, which has been used from the 19th century to the present day to describe the supposed individuality of languages. I will then discuss the two contrasting and complementary metaphors of the tongue and the eyes, which articulate a double vision of multilingualism. If the tongue is primarily about the issue of expression, the eyes are about perception. Both metaphors call into question the self-contained static unity of the linguistic organism through mobility and plurality. Tongues are flexible and can easily twist and turn in any direction. In addition, the tongue can adapt to any language and articulate a whole range of different subjectivities. In return, the eyes make it possible to move from one worldview to the other, to slide back and forth between different perspectives and thereby test out different perspectives. The examples discussed come from the work of Yoko Tawada, Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Herta Müller. In the ensuing workshop we will read and discuss a few texts.
 


Prof. Dr. Arvi Sepp

The Ethical and Political Foundations of Literary Multilingualism and Translation

In this workshop, we will discuss the ethical and political foundations of literary multilingualism and translation. The function of multilingual literature, as Rita Wilson has it, is not primarily pragmatic, but rather aesthetic and ethical. Its aim is more symbolic than realistic: it symbolizes variety, contact and the mixing of cultures and languages (Wilson, "Cultural Mediation", 244-245). Accordingly, an ethics of multilingualism has become the standard of a just society that sees itself as the third way between a universal language and a retreat into the individual languages of others. The discussion of questions of multilingualism thus has a distinct ethical and political dimension: one is born into a family, economic, political and national circumstances that determine the linguistic development and future of the individual and of the community. The speaker's linguistic habitus includes inseparable technical and social competences that determine the ability to speak and the ability to articulate oneself in a particular, socially required or appropriate way. This also has to with authority, making authority, in very different ways. As a result, languages and their translations have become an issue for theories of justice that reflect on the compensation of inequalities, as will be shown particularly in the work of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Paul Ricoeur, and Lawrence Venuti. In this context, we will consider questions of translatability, fidelity, the hierarchical division between original texts and their translations, and the biased politics of translation. The discussions of specific texts will focus on the relationship between translation, literary canonization, nationalism, post-colonialism, and national representation. Students will gain insight into culture-specific (German, French, Anglo-American,…) traditions in the theoretical conceptualization of literary translation. Thus, the workshop aims to equip students with a theoretical framework in order to develop and implement appropriate models for a variety of literary source text types in different languages. We will discuss a number of literary works, ranging from the historical avant-garde (DADA), over Paul Celan and Klaus Mann, to postcolonial literature from authors such as Kateb Yacine and Malika Mokeddem.

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