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Global Humanities Institute 2019: Translation’s Theoretical Issues, Practical Densities: Violence, Memory, and the Untranslatable

From 15-26 July 2019, OCCT took part in the Global Humanities Institute in Santiago, Chile, funded by the Mellon Foundation. OCCT was joined by the research centres of the University of California Irvine and the University of the Western Cape, along with the hosting institution, Universidad de Chile. The Institute comprised working sessions conducted by the participating academics to explore the Challenges of Translation. The working sessions were accompanied by keynote talks by four invited scholars and artists from different continents: Yala Kisukidi, Jacques Lezra, Ngũgĩg wa Thiog’o, and Beatriz Sarlo. There were also poetry readings with local Chilean and international writers.

Together, the centres explored the multidimensional concept of translation. Participants came together to generate an understanding of translation in relation to major epistemological, ethical, historical, political, and aesthetic questions. The Institute was extremely ambitious in its vision, promoting a view of translation that disrupted and exploded the traditional notion of translation as simply a transference of words from one language into another. Over the course of the two weeks, the various papers and discussions interrogated translation’s relationship to violence, colonial, and imperial practices, while others engaged questions of hospitality, memorialization, language, and circulation with literary marketplaces. For a more detailed summary on the Institute’s lines of research see here: https://chcinetwork.org/programs/ghi-2019-translation/global-humanities-....

OCCT offered papers that showed the range and breadth of its expertise. For example, Professor Matthew Reynolds presented on translation as criticism; Professor Patrick McGuinness and Dr Kasia Szymanska spoke about pseudo-translation and the Eastern European imaginary; Professor Adriana X. Jacobs talked about extreme translation as well as translation and the undead, and Dr Eleni Philippou spoke to the issue of minority languages and the Greek financial crisis. Their papers not only arose out their past and current work, but projected forward into future research.

The Institute gave the centres from different contexts an opportunity to reflect upon translation in an interdisciplinary and discursive manner. It is hoped that the connections established in Santiago will lead to other academic collaborations and publications in the future.

More information about the Institute is here: https://chcinetwork.org/programs/ghi-2019-translation

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