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Research seminar ‘Translation Studies and Society’

  • February 27, 2020

Edition spring 2020: ‘On translation as a task, and (un)translatability’

The aim of this seminar is to exchange critical reflections and to discuss important topics in translation studies (such as (un)translatability; cultural transfer; identity, language and culture; translation and ethics/politics; translation and mother tongue; etc.). Translation theories will be discussed in relation to their significance for the translational applications as well as the other way around, translation practices will be described and examined for their significance in cultural studies and human sciences in general. Translation has become a metaphor in discussions on multiculturalism, globalization, diversity, and politics of recognition: translational experience and phenomena have relevance for culture and politics/society beyond their technical and linguistic aspects, and/or the merely linguistic domain.
In the three starting sessions of this seminar, the focus will be on three founding fathers of translation studies, Roman Jakobson, Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci. From Jakobson we will read ‘On Linguistic Aspects of Translation’, optionally with some critical comment. From Benjamin we will focus on ‘The Task of the Translator’, with possibly a minor text on translation or a critical comment. In the case of Gramsci, we will read a critical text of Derek Boothman that focusses on the role of Gramsci’s reflections on language, translation and translatability in his entire social and political thought, and if appropriate, we will confront with some other critical text fragments of Peter Ives.

The research seminar is organized as a reading group. Participants will have to read texts (max. 20p.) and prepare every session in advance. The texts will be provided well in advance for the first session as soon as the registration is closed.

The seminar is organized by Prof. dr. S. Lavaert (BIAL).

  • Registration: Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please send an e-mail to sonja.lavaert@vub.be, by 17 February 2020 at the latest.
  • Location: All sessions take place at the VUB, campus Etterbeek. The room will be communicated after the registration is closed.
  • Doctoral students: the research seminar is part of the Doctoral School of Human Sciences (DSh). Doctoral students need to attend every meeting and will receive one ECTS credit per session.
  • Program: The first session takes place on 27 February 2020 from 16:00 until 18:00 (coffee will be provided), the next sessions on 19 March and 30 April (to be confirmed at the first meeting). Prof. dr. S. Lavaert will deliver a brief introduction of each session, in the first one on Jakobson.