Globalization, marked by the global ascendancy of English and the death of cultures and languages, is rightly associated with homogenization. In this seminar, we will focus on acts of “transculturation” as a pervasive counterforce to globalization’s tendency to diminish what lies in its path. Transculturation pushes places, people, works of art and literature, cultures, and languages out of the reified stasis within which academic discourse sometimes envisages them and keeps us mindful of the fact that meaning and context are inextricably linked and in perpetual transformation. These transformations are popularly understood under the rubric of “acculturation,” with attendant notions of loss. However, the concept of transculturation allows us to consider and investigate not just the loss, but also the new phenomena that may be created out of it.
Ortíz, Fernando, Contrapunteo cubano del tabáco y azúcar (1940); Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, trans. Harriet de Onis (1947)
Bakhtin, Mikhael, "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse." The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays
Discussant: Bill Johnston, recipient of a 2012 PEN Translation Award for his translation of Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski.
To access seminar readings, please register.
Taylor, Diana, Transculturating Transculturation (1991) in Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2. (May, 1991), pp. 90-104.
Ortíz, Fernando, Contrapunteo cubano del tabáco y azúcar (1940); Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, trans. Harriet de Onis (1947) [Introduction]
Freely, Maureen, Misreading Orhan Pamuk
The Revolution Will Be Translated: Susan Bernofsky and IndigNación
Readings can be found here:
1) "The Revolution Will be Translated" from Susan's blog:
2) "Translating Pussy Riot" -- also from Susan's blog:
3) the "Pussy Riot: Translator's Statements" from N+ 1:
4) the website of Indig Nación -- http://www.indig-nacion.org/sobrenosotrxs/
We're pleased to reaffirm that this Thursday's seminar will proceed as scheduled, and will feature two digital sites of transculturation. As usual, the seminar will begin at 11:45, and will be held at CUNY Grad Center in Room 7314.
Maite Junco, editor in chief of Voices of New York (http://voicesofny.org), will be joining us to talk about the CUNY Grad Center Journalism Program's site, which combines translations from New York City's multilingual ethnic press with original reporting from the city's many ethnic communities.
Bhakti Shringarpure and Michael Bronner, founding editors of Warscapes (http://www.warscapes.com) will discuss their site's vision of the conflict zone as the unifying location for the reportage, literature, poetry, interviews and criticism from around the world.
Bhakti and Michael will be discussing their site as a whole, but have also signalled several articles published on Warscapes that are particularly relevant to issues we have been discussing during the seminar.
Dinaw Mengestu, "Not a Click Away: Joseph Kony in the Real World" : http://www.warscapes.com/reportage/not-click-away-joseph-kony-real-world
Eskinder Nega on the North African revolution: http://www.warscapes.com/reportage/ethiopian-spring
Amor Eletribi on Tahrir and the Internet: http://www.warscapes.com/opinion/when-revolution-gets-activists-it-deserves
Anna Neistat on Youtube in Syria: http://www.warscapes.com/opinion/death-and-daily-bread
Another closely related story is "Uncertain Borders: Gloria Anzaldua in Focus' about Anzaldúa's book, Borderlands/La Frontera which turned 25 this year and has been banned in Arizona in public schools since it comes under Mexican-American studies: http://www.warscapes.com/retrospectives/Uncertain%20Borders
We didn't need a hurricane to remind us that foreign and domestic are not simple binary opposites, but the complex weft and warp of our lives. We're pleased to welcome the editors of two on-line publications which, in their different ways, each adopt that perspective.
Here are bios for Thursday's discussants:
Voices of New York:
Editor Maite Junco spent 15 years at the New York Daily News, the last of them editing Viva New York, a weekly section focused on Latin culture and issues, and overseeing Hora Hispana, a free weekly Spanish-language paper. She joined the News in 1995 as metro editor for El Daily News, a short-lived daily bilingual paper, the first of its kind in the country. She was later assignment editor and deputy metro editor. A native of San Juan, Junco began her career as a TV producer for Channel 24, an all-news station in Puerto Rico. She moved to New York in 1989 and first worked at El Diario-La Prensa, the nation’s oldest Spanish-language newspaper. She was also a reporter for Bloomberg News, covering immigration and religion.
Editor-in-chief: Bhakti Shringarpure is a writer and academic who received a BA in Literature from Bard College and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York. She focuses on literature emerging from civil wars in the aftermath of European colonialism with an emphasis on narratives of nation, violence, gender and the figure of the "other." She has written for several independent magazines and journals and currently teaches postcolonial literature and theory/criticism at Hunter College.
Editor-in-chief: Michael Bronner is a writer, filmmaker and journalist who spent many years at the weekday edition of CBS News/60 Minutes, reporting from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. He freelances for Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post and others, writing long, literary investigative pieces. His credits in feature film includes United 93 and Green Zone. His work has been recognized with a Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, several Emmy nominations and the President's Choice Award for a Vanity Fair piece on the 9/11 attacks.
Bolaño in English: Case Study of a Literary Reception: Chris Andrews and Natasha Wimmer
"The Superstitious Ethics of the Reader" by Jorge Luis Borges
"The Superstitious Ethics of the Reader" by Jorge Luis Borges (Part 2)
"Latin America Translated (Again); Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives in the United States" by Sarah Pollack
"Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial..." by Sagalnik, et al
Chris Andrews, the first translator of Roberto Bolaño into English, will speak on his work with Bolaño and the reasons for the extraordinary reception that Bolaño's work received in English translation. The discussant is Natasha Wimmer, translator of Bolaño's large novels The Savage Detectives and 2666. Preparatory readings for the seminar are attached, and are also available on the Transculturation webpage.
Chris Andrews was born in Newcastle, Australia, in 1962. He studied at the University of Melbourne and taught there, in the French program, from 1995 to 2008. He is now teaching at the University of Western Sydney, where he is a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. As well as translating books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions, he has published a critical study (Poetry and Cosmogony: Science in the Writing of Queneau and Ponge, Rodopi, 1999) and a collection of poems (Cut Lunch, Indigo, 2002). His awards include the Valle-Inclán Prize for translation from the Spanish (2005). Most recently, he received the 2011 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize for his forthcoming poetry collection Lime Green Chair.
Natasha Wimmer (born 1973) is an American translator best known for her translations of Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño's 2666 and The Savage Detectives. Wimmer learned Spanish in Spain, where she spent four years growing up. She studied Spanish literature at Harvard. After graduating her first job was at Farrar, Straus & Giroux from 1996 to 1999 as an assistant and then managing editor. While there her first translation was Dirty Havana Trilogy by the Cuban novelist Pedro Juan Gutiérrez.She then worked at Publishers Weekly, before the demands on working on Bolaño's books became full-time.She has also translated Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa's The Language of Passion, The Way to Paradise, and Letters to a Young Novelist. Wimmer received the PEN Translation Prize in 2009.
Join us for a meeting with Jennifer Scappettone to discuss her translations of selected prose and poetry by Amelia Rosselli.
Jennifer Scappettone is a poet and translater from New York, and has lived in Italy, Japan, Virginia, and California. She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Scappettone is the recipient of the 2012 Raiziss/ de Palchi Book Prize for her translations of Italian poet Amelia Rosselli in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012), recipient of the 2012 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is also the author of the poetry collection From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and the editor and translator of a special feature on contemporary Italian experimental poetry for Aufgabe 7 (2008). Her book Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice, a study of the postromantic city as a crucible for twentieth-century experimentation across literature, politics, the visual arts, architecture, and urbanism, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.
Links to suggested readings:
Edith Grossman at Baruch College-- Translation Matters
Edith Grossman: Translation Matters
Please note location:
Tuesday, December 11 at 6:00 PM
Engelman Recital Hall
Baruch Performing Arts Center
Baruch College, 55 Lexington Ave, NYC
"A New Great Wall," by Edith Grossman: Foreign Policy, April 26, 2010
Edith Grossman is the author of the critically acclaimed Why Translation Matters (Yale University Press, 2011). She has been the recipient of awards and honors including Fulbright, Woodrow Wilson, and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Queen Sofía Translation Prize, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
On the creative requirements of translating Ms. Grossman says, “Thinking up characters and plot is not a problem translators have to face, but the imagination of language and how one says what one needs to say in the best way possible—the most effective way possible—that’s a problem that translators have to deal with constantly.” Ms. Grossman has brought into English poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by major Latin American writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Álvaro Mutis, and Mayra Montero. Peninsular works that she has translated include Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, novels by Julián Ríos, Carmen Laforet, Carlos Rojas, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and The Solitudes of Luis de Góngora.
Co-sponsored by the Paul André Feit Memorial Fund, the Jewish Studies Center, and the Global Studies and Global Certificate programs
Philologies of the Twenty-First Century: The Murty Classical Library of India and the Library of Arabic Literature
For more details about this public event, click here
Public Event at Baruch College: Resonances: Contemporary Writers on the Classics
For more information click here
The Politics of Polyglossia
For more information click here
MEETING LEADER:: Daniel Margocsy
Of Satyrs, Horses, and Camels: Imagining Nature in the Age of Discoveries
Daniel Margocsy is assistant professor of early modern European history at Hunter College - CUNY. He is the 2012-3 Birkelund fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the New York Public Library. A historian of science by training, he has published articles on the development of taxonomy, the visual culture of early modern anatomy, and the aesthetics of curiosities. He has co-edited States of Secrecy, a special issue of the British Journal for the History of Science, and his forthcoming book is titled Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age.
MEETING LEADER:: Peter Cole
Peter Cole on Translating the Esoteric
The year's final Transculturation seminar features poet, translator, scholar, and publisher Peter Cole on Translating the Esoteric.
In preparation for the seminar, Cole has provided some readings and questions:
This session will consider the challenges and pleasures encountered in translating the poetry of the Kabbalistic tradition. We might consider, for starters, some of the following questions:
How do we translate the poetry of an esoteric tradition, which is by definition not meant to be readily communicated? And should we even try?
Are there fundamental or for that matter any differences between translating mystical poetry and poetry that is, say, part of the classical or romantic tradition?
Is mystical writing itself a translation of what is beyond speech?
Is translation itself a kind of mystical mode of literary activity that takes us beyond (original) speech?
How might translation convey a sense of being on the cusp of language and what is beyond it?
Or, can the language of translation (English) convey a sense of the sacred and even magical properties of the original (Hebrew)?
But I would welcome questions from any and all directions—and offer these up only as batting practice.
The introduction to The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition (Yale, 2012) is attached, along with three poems from the volume. The Abulafia is an excerpt of an excerpt—so ellipses should be added at the end of page 3.
Peter Cole is the author of three books of poetry and the translator of more than a dozen volumes from Hebrew and Arabic, includingThe Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492 and The Poetry of Kaballah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition. His many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, and the PEN Translation Award for Poetry. In 2007 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, and is the editor of the publishing house Ibis Editions: http://www.ibiseditions.com/home/
Transculturations: Preliminary Bibliography
Alcalay, Ammiel, Poetry, Politics and Translation: American Isolation and the Middle East. Palm Press, 2003.
Alexakis, Vassilis. Foreign Words (novel), trans. Alyson Waters. Autumn Hill Books, 2006.
Allen, Esther & Bernofsky, Susan, eds., In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means. Forthcoming, Columbia University Press, 2013.
Banti, Giorgio and Giannattasio, Francesco: "Poetry," in A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology (Blackwell, 2005).
Bellamy, Carla. The Powerful Ephemeral: Everyday Healing In An Ambiguously Islamic Place. University of California Press, 2011.
Bellos, David, Is That A Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2011.
Berman, Antoine, L’épreuve de l’étranger (1984); The Experience of the Foreign, trans. S. Heyvaert. State University of New York Press, 1992.
Borges, Jorge Luis. "The Translators of the Thousand and One Nights," trans. E. Allen, and “The Homeric Versions,” trans. E. Weinberger, in E. Weinberger, ed., Selected Non Fictions (Penguin, 1999); “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” trans. James E. Irby, in Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (New Directions, 1964).
Casanova, Pascale. The World Republic of Letters, trans. M. B. DeBevoise. Harvard University Press, 2007.
Clifford, James, ed. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, 25th Anniversary Edition. University of California Press: Berkeley, 2010.
Cronin, Michael. Translation and Globalization. Routledge, 2003.
Davis, Richard. The Lives of Indian Images. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1999.
Del Valle, José. La lengua, ¿Patria comun? Ideas e ideologías del español Vervuert / Iberoamericana, 2007.
Deutscher, Guy. The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention. Holt, 2006.
Deutscher, Guy. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. Picador, 2011.
Flood, Finbarr B. Objects of Translation: Material Culture and the Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2009).
Jakobson, Roman. "On Linguistic Aspects of Translation," in On Language in Literature. Belknap Press, 1990.
Kroeber, Theodora. Ishi In Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America. Orig. pub., 1961. (University of California Press).
Ortíz, Fernando, Contrapunteo cubano del tabáco y azúcar (1940); Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, trans. Harriet de Onis (1947).
Ostler, Nicholas. Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World. Harper, 2005.
Pollock, Sheldon. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. University of California Press: Berkeley, 2006.
Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Routledge, 1992.
Katherine Russell Rich. Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language (Memoir). Mariner Books, 2009.
Rothenberg, Jerome, ed. Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. (University of California Press, 1968).
Bambi Schieffelin, ed. Consequences of Contact: Language Ideologies and Socio-cultural Transformations in Pacific Societies. Oxford University Press, 2007.
Steiner, George. After Babel. Oxford University Press, 1975.
Williams, Roger. A Key Into the Languages of America (1643), eds. Evelyn J. Hinz, John J. Teunissen. Wayne State University Press, 1973.
Benjamin Lee Whorf, “The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language” In J.B. Carroll (ed.) Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf (pp. 134–159). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Related Work Ongoing at CUNY:
The Endangered Language Initiative at CUNY Grad Center:
Voices of New York -- a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism:
Words Without Borders:
www.wordswithoutborders.org -- International literature in translation
www.cirumferencemag.org -- International poetry in translation
Warscapes: A lens into current conflicts across the world.
Bromley Media: Check your score on the Transculturation Meter
www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/ -- Reviews international literature in translation and disseminates information about translation.
Translationista: Susan Bernofsky blogs about translation and politics
Towards a Global Literature Project, directed by Tim Parks and Edoardo Zuccato at IULM University in Milan
Research in the Technological, Social and Cultural Practices of Online Reading:
The Litmap Project
Created to enable humanities scholars to read literature spatially.
To Be Translated Or Not To Be: The International PEN/Institut Ramon Lull Report on the International Situation of Literary Translation
The World in Words: PRI's The World