Meet our conference panels

Translating Feminism


Our conference is less than a month away! In preparation we will be sharing abstracts and biographies of our panels in the run up to the event. Our first panel consists of Luise von Flotow, Olga Castro and Serena Bassi who will be speaking on the subject of ‘Challenges and Opportunities of Transnational Feminist Translation’.

SPEAKER  1.  Luise  von  Flotow,  University  of  Ottawa,  Canada   

‘Global  English’  and  the  Challenges  of  Transnational  Feminist  Translation  Studies


Translation  Studies,  an  academic  discipline  focused  on  studying  transnational   communications,  is  largely  undertaken  in  English:  the  most  important  academic  journals   in  the  field  are  English,  conferences  are  largely  run  in  English  (with  other  languages   sometimes  allowed)  and  the  best-­‐known  and  cited  academics  in  the  field  write  in   English.  This  situation  has  been  commented  on/criticized,  often  by  those  same  well-­‐ known  academics.  My  paper  addresses  this  situation  in  regard  to  the  translation  and   academic  study  of  feminist  materials.  It  is  based  on  a  recent  project  that  was  designed  to   get  beyond  the  “Anglo-­‐American  Eurozone”  in  the  field  of  feminist  and  gender-­‐focused   translation  studies:  Translating  Women.  Other  Voices  and  New  Horizons  (eds.  Luise  von   Flotow  and  Farzaneh  Farahzad,  Routledge  2017).  The  project  continuously  ran  into   obstacles  and  challenges  posed  by  the  importance  of  English,  not  only  as  a  global  lingua   franca,  but  as  one  of  the  major  references  for  feminist  work  in  the  late  20th  and  early   21st  centuries.  My  paper  will  address  three  specific  issues:  the  problem  posed  by  global   English  in  regard  to  feminist  translation  studies,  the  challenges  faced  when  editing  and   integrating  academic  work  from  other  cultures  into  English-­‐language  academia,  and  the   internecine  issues  that  arise  and  can  confound  shared  goals.


Luise  von  Flotow  has  taught  at  the  School  of  Translation   and  Interpretation  University  of  Ottawa  Canada  since  1996.  Her  research  interests   include  feminism,  gender  and  translation,  translation  as  cultural  diplomacy  and   audiovisual  translation,  and  she  also  works  as  a  literary  translator,  from  French  and   German  into  English.  Recent  publications  include  Translating  Women.  Other  Voices  and   New  Horizons,  ed.  with  Farzaneh  Farahzad,  Routledge  2017;  Translation  Effects:  The   Making  of  Contemporary  Canadian  Culture  and  Translation,  ed.  with  Kathy  Mezei  and   Sherry  Simon,  McGill  Queens  UP  2014;  Translating  Women,  ed.  U.Ottawa  Press  2011.

SPEAKER  2.  Olga  Castro,  Aston  University,  UK   

Feminist  Activism  and  Translation  in  a  Transnational  World


The  future  of  feminisms  is  in  the  transnational  and  the  transnational  is  made   through  translation.  Indeed,  translation  is  a  powerful  mediating  force  in  the  current   context  of  transnational  globalisation.  In  the  age  of  transnational  feminism,  in  which   transnational  encounters  can  help  avoid  exclusionary  and  universalising  practices  of   western  feminism  by  developing  new  intersectional  approaches  among  race,  gender,   sexuality,  ethnicity  or  nationhood  (and  also  new  understandings  of  contextualised   gender  inequalities),  translation  plays  a  vital  role  in  enabling  (or  disabling)  such   encounters.  These  intercultural  exchanges  fostered  by  translation,  I  will  argue,  have  the   potential  to  unveil  the  universal  and  all-­‐encompassing  nature  of  gender  discrimination,   while  demonstrating  the  diverse  ways  in  which  these  discriminatory  practices  are   materialised  in  different  contexts.  Taking  this  as  a  starting  point,  and  drawing  on   examples  linked  to  the  experience  of  co-­‐editing  the  volume  Feminist  Translation  Studies: Local  and  Transnational  Perspectives  (eds.  Olga  Castro  and  Emek  Ergun,  Routledge   2017)  which  seeks  to  geopolitically  intervene  in  the  Anglo-­‐Eurocentric  scope  of  the  field   and  makes  the  voices  of  25  scholars  heard  (paradoxically  perhaps)  in  English,  the  aim  of   my  paper  is  two-­‐fold:  First,  I  will  attempt  to  offer  a  definition  of  what  feminist   translation  studies  is  or  may  be  in  a  transnational  world;  undoubtedly,  at  a  historical   moment  of  geopolitical  and  inter/disciplinary  growth.  Secondly,  after  exploring   different  ‘traditional’  feminist  approaches  to  translation  studies,  I  will  try  to  reveal  some   significant  gaps  at  the  intersection  between  translation  studies  and  feminist  studies.  By   so  doing,  I  hope  to  encourage  new  studies  putting  translation  at  the  centre  of   transnational  feminist  activism.


Olga  Castro  is  lecturer  in  Translation  Studies  at  Aston  University,   Birmingham.  Her  research  expertise  includes  the  social  and  political  role  of  translation   and  gender/women/feminism,  the  politics  of  translation  in  minorized  and  non-­‐ hegemonic  cultures  and  the  transnational  travels  of  texts.  Her  latest  publications  include   Feminismos  (Xerais  2013),  Feminist  Translation  Studies:  Local  and  Transnational   Perspectives  (with  Ergun,  Routledge  2017)  and  Self-­‐Translation  and  Power:  Negotiating   Identities  in  Multilingual  Europe  (with  Mainer  and  Page,  Palgrave  2017).

SPEAKER  3.  Serena  Bassi,  Yale  University,  US  (as  of  July  2018)   

Inclusive  Language?  A  Few  Reflections  On  Transnational  Queer  Feminist   Translation


The  commonly-­‐used  phrase  “mother  tongue”  frames  belonging  to  the   monolingual  Nation-­‐State  in  biological  terms,  presents  the  standardised  national   language  as  natural,  and  constructs  dialects  and  sociolects  as  inauthentic.  In  spite  of  the   resilience  of  this  trope,  Critical  Translation  Studies  scholarship  showed  that  a   reorganisation  of  national  languages  has  long  been  underway,  with  some  commentators   seeing  the  birth  of  Global  English  after  WWII  as  ushering  in  a  new  “postmonolingual”   era.  In  this  paper,  I  look  at  Italian  1970s  “gay  slang”  as  an  example  of  linguistic   reorganisation,  and  I  interrogate  the  role  of  translation  in  producing  queer  sociolects.  In   particular,  I  focus  on  the  travel  and  translation  of  the  English-­‐language  feminist  and  gay   liberationist  term  “consciousness-­‐raising”  by  examining  the  translation  from  English   into  Italian  of  a  selection  of  feminist  and  Gay  Liberation  pamphlets  published  in  the   early  1970s.  As  my  paper  will  show,  by  re-­‐contextualising  “consciousness-­‐raising”   within  debates  about  class  and  capitalism  in  the  translating  culture,  Italian  feminists  and   gay  liberationists  transformed  the  term  into  an  instrument  of  critique  of  both  hetero-­‐ patriarchy  and  of  hegemonic  US  models  of  sexual  politics,  and  with  them  of  the  power  of   Global  English.  These  translations  reveal  a  rejection  of  liberal  notions  of  “inclusion”  and   “inclusive  language”  and  attempts  at  pushing  back  against  dominant  monolingual   ideologies.  In  my  intervention,  I  will  build  from  these  critiques  expressed  through   particular  translation  choices,  to  begin  rethinking  Translation  Studies  as  a  transnational   queer  feminist  endeavour.


Serena  Bassi  will  be  a  post-­‐doctoral  research  fellow  at  Yale  University  from   July  2018,  where  she  will  be  working  on  a  project  in  collaboration  with  the  National   Book  Foundation  on  the  contemporary  Queer  Novel  in  translation.  She  was  previously   awarded  an  Early  Career  Leverhulme  Trust  Fellowship  to  work  on  her  forthcoming   monograph  “Mistranslating  Minority:  Queer  World-­‐Making  in  Italy  after  1968”


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