Reading and Re-Translation Colloquium

This event is part of the Co-Sponsorships Program: Reading and Re-Translation Colloquium .
Friday, March 29, 2019 - 9:30am to Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 5:00pm
Event Location: 
University Capitol Centre, Room 1117
201 S Clinton St
Iowa City, IA 52240
Color image of mini translation dictionaries perched on computer keyboard

This colloquium will bring together scholars from a range of languages, literary traditions, disciplines, and approaches, for two days of intensive and hopefully enjoyable interdisciplinary conversation.

The two foci of our conference, reading and re-translation, are both important yet relatively underdeveloped areas of research, and they are also intimately connected. Theorizations of reading have been on the sidelines for many years. If the question has been raised at all in recent times, it has been mainly in response to Franco Moretti’s provocative call that we “learn not to read” and instead practice “distant reading,” exploring databases of literary texts with the help of big data processing. On the other end of the spectrum, there are diverse close reading practices or phenomenological approaches that consider reading as an embodied practice. Translation raises comparable questions. Every translation instantiates a specific reading of the source text. But translations, too, are increasingly performed by computers. Retranslations emerge when there is more than one translation of a given text into a given target language. They become necessary because language or the target culture change over time. But retranslation, if responding to its predecessors, can also be owed to a re-reading.

We are undertaking this inquiry into reading and retranslation because we consider it urgent that we rethink the ways in which we can still make sense in our increasingly globalized and digitized literary landscape. We are leading a graduate-level seminar (CL:4800/TRNS:4800) in conjunction with the colloquium.

Invited speakers:

  • Michelle Woods (English, SUNY New Paltz) — “Reading (With) Translators: Agency and Exegesis in Translation and Retranslations”
  • Kaisa Koskinen (Communications Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland) — “Newness, Nostalgia, and Business as Usual: On Reading and Not Reading Retranslations”
  • Madeleine Campbell (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh) — “Translation and Re-translation as Embodied Reading”
  • Martin Klebes (German, University of Oregon) — “The ‘Great Unread’ and the Microgram”
  • Nils Seiler (MFA Translation, University of Iowa; M.A. in Asian Studies, Cornell University) — "A Kantian Buddhist? On Retranslating Dharmottara'sTheory of Perception"
  • Beata Stawarska (Philosophy, University of Oregon) — “Derrida Reading Saussure: The Text, the Source Text, and an Errant Reading”
  • Rainer Guldin (German and Communication Sciences, Universitá Svizzeria di Lugano, Switzerland) — “Self-Translation as Reading in the Work of VilémFlusser”
  • Nassima Sahraoui (Philosophie, Universität Hannover) — “The Language of Resistance: Untranslatability, Violence, and the Body”
  • Laura McClure (Classics, University of Wisconsin–Madison) — “Untranslatability and the Chorus in Virginia Woolf and H.D.”
  • Thomas Rose (Classics, Randolph-Macon College) — “The Translation of Glory: Roman Repurposing of Greco-Macedonian Victory Monuments”

Free and open to the public.

This event is hosted by the UI Program in Comparative Literature and the MFA Program in Literary Translation, with support from UI International Programs; the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; the Department of Classics; and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.