Summer Literary Workshop
Translation: Theory and Practice
May 18 - July 22
May 18 - July 22
Led by: Shushan Avagyan
“A translation maintains above all its own fiction, it maintains the true fiction that translation is possible. It is this fiction, both hopeful and frightening, promising communication where none by definition should be possible, and simultaneously eliminating the possible communication of difference itself so to speak, regarding difference, or of its incommunicability—and so effacing a vital, ineffable otherness proffered by the other idiom.”—Eric Prenowitz, from the Translator’s Note to Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever
Introduction and Overview
How do works of literature and scholarship acquire international status? How have ideas and theories, learning and religion, historical and practical knowledge, traversed the globe? To a large extent by building linguistic bridges across the channels that divide language spheres and cultural regions, whether by the rewriting of messages and works in another tongue, or through other interventions by individuals who possess knowledge in more than one language and can therefore act as cultural mediators. Translation has been instrumental in the formation of writing and literary culture in Armenian and other languages. Indeed, the history of international contact and cultural development, within and beyond Armenia, can be traced by noting the routes of translation. Translation is still of the utmost importance in the affairs of a world that has gone through a rapid modernization, which furthermore has enhanced international relations to the point where people feel they can talk of “globalization.” Given the limitations of time and space, we will focus our study on twentieth century and contemporary translation theory.
We will approach the discussion of translation by critically engaging with two interrelated research questions: 1) is communication the sole purpose of translation or does it serve other motivations, and 2) can it be seamless and complete, or does it breach the foreign and domestic discourses (and if so, how)? Centering our workshop on an ethical politics of difference, we will employ translation as a means to revise and subvert dominant domestic values and discourses that have become naturalized and invisible in their power relations.
Lawrence Venuti, ed., The Translation Studies Reader (Routledge, 2000)
Micheline Aharonian Marcom, The Daydreaming Boy (Riverhead, 2004)
To participate in the workshop, please send your cv and intentions to Shushan Avagyan <firstname.lastname@example.org> by May 10, 2010.