CFP: (Re) thinking translations. Methodologies, objectives, perspectives (2018)

(Re) thinking translations. Methodologies, objectives, perspectives

European University Institute, Villa Salviati 11-12 October 2018

Villa Salviati – Via Bolognese 156
Florence, Italian Republic (50122)

Call for papers

SUMMARY
In the last four decades, scholars have begun to go beyond the traditional perspective of linguistic and literary studies, and to consider the translations as cultural practices and the result of various processes of cultural and intellectual “negotiation” between two different contexts. In recent years also historians have progressively started to take a close interest in translations as sources to investigate the ways in which knowledge and ideas were constructed, disseminated, re-elaborated and assimilated in new cultural, social and political contexts. The aims of this international conference is to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue on these problems, bringing together scholars, graduate students and early career researchers from Translation Studies, History, History of Book, History of Science, Literary Studies and related disciplines who are interested in discussing methodologies, objectives and perspectives in the study of translations.

Argument
In the last four decades, scholars have begun to go beyond the traditional perspective of linguistic and literary studies, and to consider the translations as cultural practices and the result of various processes of cultural and intellectual “negotiation” between two different contexts. In recent years also historians have progressively started to take a close interest in translations as sources to investigate the ways in which knowledge and ideas were constructed, disseminated, re-elaborated and assimilated in new cultural, social and political contexts. Among others, Peter Burke, Lázsló Kontler and Christopher Rundle have offered a problematized reflection on the role that the study of translations plays in historical research, underlining how translation could be «the lens through which we research our historical object» (Rundle 2011).

The aims of this international conference is to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue on these problems, bringing together scholars, graduate students and early career researchers from Translation Studies, History, History of Book, History of Science, Literary Studies and related disciplines who are interested in discussing methodologies, objectives and perspectives in the study of translations.

The conference will be divided into two parts. On Thursday 11st October, the attention will be focused on methodological issues. On Friday 12nd October, trying to explore and further promote intersections between Translation Studies, Intellectual History of Enlightenment and History of Science, we will address a specific research question, the contribution that translations offered in the circulation of scientific works in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

Participants are especially encouraged to present papers dealing with any aspects related to the study of translations. Suggested topics might include, but are in no restricted to the following:

  • Translations and Cultural Transfer
  • Translations and History of Book
  • Translations and History of Science
  • Translations and Intellectual History of Enlightenment
  • Eighteenth century theories and practices of translation
  • The materiality of translation
  • Actors involved in translation processes

Deadline and Other Information
Please submit proposals for papers (c. 300 words, in English or French) with a short CV to alessia.castagnino@eui.eu by 31 May 2018. You will receive an answer by 30 June 2018. Proposed papers should not exceed 20 minute in length.

Participation is free of charge and includes lunches, dinner and coffee breaks. We may be able to contribute financially to accomodation of a certain number of participants. Please indicate in your proposal if you would benefit from this support.

Organising Commitee
Prof. Ann Thomson (European University Institute, Florence)
Dr. Alessia Castagnino (European University Institute, Florence)

KEYWORDS
translation, science, cultural history, intellectual history, enlightenment

CONTACT
Alessia Castagnino
courriel : alessia,castagnino@eui.eu

What is a good translation?

These remarks are prompted by a recent short interview in The Guardian with Sam Taylor, a novelist and translator of 30 books from French into English. He comments

‘Ultimately, it’s a question of taste. My personal ideal for a translation is one that makes the reader forget they are reading a translation at all, but not everyone feels the same way.’

This happens to be my own view as well. I prefer reading well-crafted English, rather than English that is constantly reminding me that it is a transliteration from another language. One could compare the two translations of Foucault’s Histoire de la folie in this context. The first translation of the abridged edition by Richard Howard, Madness and Civilization was a wonderful poetic excursion that flowed beautifully in English, just as Foucault’s book flowed in its original language. The two translators of the more recent and complete History of Madness have opted for the transliteration style – constantly reminding the reader that it was a book originally written in French. Perhaps these respective choices were made due to the relative celebrity of Foucault at the time of each translation. Howard’s translation appeared in 1964 when Foucault was little known even in France. In 2006, when the second translation by Jonathan Murphy and Jean Khalfa was published, Foucault’s name brought an immense baggage of previous translation and interpretation.

To turn to other examples – this time in the realm of television. The 1970s American buddy cop TV series Starsky and Hutch was immensely popular in France as witty asides were added in the French dub that were not there in the original.

The late 70s Japanese TV show, Monkey  was also entertainingly rendered into English by David Weir who didn’t speak Japanese. He worked with a translation of the dialogue and rewrote it to work for an English speaking audience and also to fit what was happening on screen. (See a short list of lines from his script -some more dubious than others- that I put together back in the early days of the net). As Rebecca Hausler remarks in a recent article in The Conversation the “translation of Monkey was really more of a complete re-writing … adding plenty of puns, double-entendres, and pseudo philosophical musings”. I would qualify this by saying that perhaps the musings are not always so pseudo given that many of them refer to Buddhist scripture.

So which is best – a meticulously and technically accurate translation or one that works in the language into which it is translated? I would argue that there is a place for both approaches.

The Scholarly Writing Process (A Short Guide) (2016)

Jo VanEvery, The Scholarly Writing Process (A Short Guide)
Published November 1, 2016
Ebook: ISBN 978-1-912040-72-8
Paperback (178 x 111 mm): ISBN 978-1-912040-00-1

Getting stuck is a normal part of the writing process, even for experienced writers. My aim in publishing this Short Guide is to help you generate new writing projects, keep your writing projects moving forward, and ensure that your writing process results in publications. Designed so you can refer to it whenever you get stuck, this Short Guide breaks down the scholarly writing process into stages and provides both a description of that stage and writing prompts to help you get unstuck.

Table of Contents:
Preface: How to use this Short Guide
Introduction: Writing as Process & Product
Beginnings
Moving Your Project Forward
From process to product: Who are you writing for?
Determining which writing products to prioritize
Refining a specific writing product
What is finished?
Getting another perspective
Submission, Revision, publication
And you keep writing

Blog redesign (2018)

Now I have a frankly all too short period of long service leave, I am taking the opportunity to update the design and content on my blogs and re-organise what goes where. The net has changed a lot over the years since I first put my Foucault site online in 1997! I have retitled this blog with my own name so I can consolidate and organise a number of my online activities and broaden the activities on this blog. I am also in the process of combining my michel-foucault.com and my Foucault News sites.

It was a bit of a mission finding the right free template on WordPress.com. (I wasn’t keen to take out a second premium account – I have one already on Foucault News). As there are a fair few quotations on this blog, I wanted a blockquote style which wasn’t in italics (too hard to read) and also made it clear to readers the distinction between quotations and my own text. Another issue was finding text that was dark enough. Grey text is hard to read.

To assist me in my labours I am currently staying at this lovely beach.

LSE Impact Blog – “Six academic writing habits that will boost productivity” (plus other links)

Progressive Geographies

LSE Impact Blog – “Six academic writing habits that will boost productivity

I’m not sure by the notion of ‘productivity’, but there is some good advice here. Here are the headlines:

  1. They “time-block” their writing in advance
  2. They set themselves artificial deadlines
  3. They deliberately seek “flow” (but don’t push themselves if they can’t find it)
  4. They design accountability structures around themselves
  5. They use small steps and short deadlines to tackle large projects
  6. They “write their way” out of their blocks

On the last point, see this useful post at Explorations of Style. Jo van Every continues to provide useful advice. See, for example, Is this Real Writing or procrastination? and Incorporating writing into your workload: The Research Day (an excerpt from her next book).

This Twitter thread also has some useful suggestions:

View original post 50 more words

Foucault and Violence

“A relationship of violence acts upon a body or upon things; it forces, it bends, it breaks on the wheel, it destroys, or it closes the door on all possibilities. Its opposite pole can only be passivity, and if it comes up against any resistance, it has no other option but to try to minimize it. On the other hand, a power relationship can only be articulated on the basis of two elements which are each indispensable if it is really to be a power relationship: that “the other” (the one over whom power is exercised) be thoroughly recognized and maintained to the very end as a person who acts; and that, faced with a relationship of power, a whole field of responses, reactions, results, and possible inventions may open up.

Obviously the bringing into play of power relations does not exclude the use of violence any more than it does the obtaining of consent; no doubt the exercise of power can never do without one or the other, often both at the same time. But even though consensus and violence are the instruments or the results, they do not constitute the principle or the basic nature of power. The exercise of power can produce as much acceptance as may be wished for: it can pile up the dead and shelter itself behind whatever threats it can imagine. In itself the exercise of power is not violence; nor is it a consent which, implicitly, is renewable. It is a total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible actions; it incites, it induces, it seduces, it makes easier or more difficult; in the extreme it constrains or forbids absolutely; it is nevertheless always a way of acting upon an acting subject or acting subjects by virtue of their acting or being capable of action. A set of actions upon other actions.”

Michel Foucault, (2000) [1981] ‘The Subject and Power’. In J. Faubion (ed.). Tr. Robert Hurley and others. Power The Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984. Volume Three. New York: New Press, p. 340-1

Random thoughts in response

As Frédéric Gros point out in his useful article Foucault – philosopher of violence? (2012), Foucault has little to say directly on violence per se. The above quotation is perhaps one of his most extended discussions on the topic. Earlier in a 1973 lecture after working through the notion, but not coming to an entirely satisfactory conclusion, he defines ‘violence [as] the physical exercise of a completely unbalanced force’.[1] In the more refined argument he produces in ‘The Subject and Power’. Foucault argues that when violence is exerted it is no longer a power relation. Power relies on people willingly and freely agreeing to modify their behaviour (even if under extreme duress and threat). Power is about changing people’s actions – which is different from the simple act of destroying and exerting physical force on their bodies. Violence can certainly be used as an instrument of power to threaten people and the result of power can be violence, but the exercise of power is not in itself violence, just as power is not equivalent to knowledge.

Making this distinction can lead to interesting ways of conducting a nuanced discussion of the tensions between power and violence. One might discuss, for instance, how different people choose to respond in differing ways to acts of physical force. When violence is exercised the victim has no choice. In the exercise of power both sides have choices – even if these are restricted.

One could perhaps argue that the difference between power and violence is the issue of choice on both sides of the equation.

[1] Michel Foucault, Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the Collège de France 1973-1975. Edited by Jacques Lagrange. Translated by Graham Burchell (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), p. 14

With thanks to Steven Ogden for provoking these thoughts.

Why do so many academics publish in unreadable outlets?

Progressive Geographies

Why do so many academics publish in unreadable outlets?

I don’t mean the prose style is unreadable (though it might be), but I’m thinking of the outlets they chose to publish in.

Obviously, I recognise that the ‘gold standard’ for many academics is the refereed journal article, and the majority of these journals, especially the ones that are ‘highly ranked’, are subscription-only. If you are working towards getting a job, tenure, promotion, research assessment and so on, you may need to publish in those kinds of outlets. Fine, this is a compromise between accessibility and recognised outlet.

I’m thinking of two other kinds of outputs.

First, authored and edited books. Why do so many academics continue to publish books which are hardback only, very expensive, often with poor production values, and so on? And, given the current trend for very short books (Briefs, Shorts, Forerunners, Swifts, Pivots, etc.) why do authors…

View original post 511 more words