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”