The Materiality of Feminist Texts and Translations

Translating Feminism International Workshop

Universität Bern
23–24 June 2017

We are thrilled to announce our second international workshop, The Materiality of Feminist Texts and Translations: Economy, Production, and Text, to be held in Switzerland this June!

Our forthcoming workshop builds on the conversations begun at Beyond the Canon by addressing the materiality of feminist texts and to the material culture of feminist literary activities, with a special focus on translation.

Following Roger Chartier, we observe that the meaning readers give to a text remains tied to the material conditions in which that text is produced and diffused. Chartier reminds us that printed objects contribute crucial information about how and why people make sense of what they read. This applies to translations in peculiar ways, as the physical quality of both the source text and the translation establish (imagined) relationships between transnational and translingual writers and readers.

Women’s literary activities involved producing, diffusing, reading, translating, and discussing texts from a woman’s point of view. But what was considered to be a ‘woman’s point of view’? How do global transfers and translations de-stabilise accepted notions thereof?

Instead of studying feminism as a given system of abstract ideas, we consider the variety of material supportive of women-centred ideas, ranging from pamphlets to self-published pirated editions and to printed books, as well as the literary activities by which they are produced and transmitted. This includes the fact that, while practising what social movement theorists call ‘counter-cultural retreat’, when it came to literary activism, feminists did engage with a broader public, both in terms of a (potential) feminist public and the institutions and actors of the publishing market.

Participants will address aspects of feminist text and book production, diffusion, and translation, such as:

  • The materiality of the printed object and the conditions of (non-) reproducibility
  • The economic contexts of book publishing and translation
  • The technical conditions of writing, translation and transnational communication transfer
  • Aspects of distribution
  • Bookshops and reading communities
  • The history of translation and a transnational feminist reading market
Attendance is open and free to all!
Register by 5 June 2017


Call for papers
(PDF, 349K) *no longer accepting submissions

Workshop programme (HTML) (PDF 180K)

For details about joining us in Bern, please write to Emily Ryder, Network Facilitator.