Elisa Cogbill-Seiders (University of Nevada-Las Vegas)
Genevieve Waite (Graduate Center, CUNY)
Janet Zong (Harvard University)
Translation makes contemporary global spaces possible. As J.W. Goethe says: “Whatever one may say of the inadequacy of translation, this activity nonetheless remains one of the most essential tasks and one of the worthiest of esteem in the universal market of world trade [emphasis added].” But how does translation create global literary spaces? What is the role of translation in world literature courses? Goethe tells us to admire the translator--do we?
Scholars like Pascale Casanova and Gayatri Spivak have engaged forcefully with translation, arguing for recognition of the “untranslatable” and warning against replicating Anglo worldviews. Partially as a result of this intense conversation, translation has become more important in the typically “parochial” United States. More than ever, texts are translated into English, thereby bringing the world to us while encouraging the extreme proliferation of world literature, both as academic discipline and pedagogical endeavor. And yet, translation has also diminished--consider the fact that many world literature scholars and/or instructors cannot tell you the names or qualifications of the translators involved in creating world literature texts, let alone explain how translation affects readers’ perceptions of what they read and, consequently, their understanding of the world.Participants are encouraged to review their experience in translating texts and/or teaching translated texts, in discussing translation with students, or to share findings in translation studies, particularly as related to works routinely found in world literature classrooms. Participants may focus on texts from any genre--poetry, prose, and drama, fictional or nonfictional, in order to best represent the variety of texts found in common anthologies like the Norton Anthology of World Literature or the Longman Anthology of World Literature.