About this conference

Join us for “Open Borders: Translation and its Perils,” a 2-day virtual conference on Fri-Sat, October 15th-16th organized by Professors Alexandra Coller and Amin Erfani (Languages and Literatures, Lehman College, CUNY), featuring keynote speaker Christopher Winks (Queens College, CUNY).

"Open Borders: Translation and its Perils" aims to explore the theory and practices of translation across world languages, disciplines, and genres throughout the ages. In times of border walls and banishment based on ethnicity, religion, and origins, there is an increasing risk of subjecting world cultures, literature and knowledge to a single overarching lingua franca, or leveling the diversity of languages to idioms of a few dominant ones. Translation is in peril most when, instead of accounting for what resists transparency in the original language, it washes down the untranslatable to digestible bits, intended for a select readership of a few major languages. Too often we forget, for instance, that Aristotle’s major books were rediscovered by the western world through their Arabic translations, during the Middle Ages. Indeed, translation is in peril of eliminating the foreignness of the original work and assimilating its alterity, rather than presenting it, as it should, in the form of the other.

The focus of this conference is on translation within and across a variety of genres and disciplines, which will open borders toward the other aspects of intellectual history, cultures, and literature, throughout the ages. We are interested in exploring the craft of translation beyond a mere utilitarian tool, as form of performance in and of itself.

Sponsored by the School of Arts & Humanities at Lehman College, & the PhD programs in French, Italian, and Spanish, & Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
. For questions or accommodation requests about this conference, please contact AMIN.ERFANI (at) lehman.cuny.edu.


(All indications of time in this program refer to US eastern standard time.)

Day #1: Friday October 15

Click Here for Zoom Registration Link.

Panel #1 (9:30a.m. -11a.m.): Early Modern Italian Translations Across the Genres

Paola De Santo (University of Georgia) and Caterina Mongiat Farina (DePaul University)

Eric Nicholson (New York University, Florence)

Martin Marafioti (Pace University)

Panel #2 (11a.m.-12:30p.m.): Translation & Erasure

Reyam Rammahi (University of Oxford)

Felix Rössler (University of Тоronto)

Anna Schewelew (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Lunch (12:30p.m.-1:45p.m.)

Panel #3 (2p.m.-4p.m.): Translation as Performance: Politics, Creativity, Ethics, & Mediation

Marike van der Watt (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) & Paola Gentile (University of Trieste/Stellenbosch University)

Keynote Speaker (4pm): “Translation: The Impossible Necessity?”

Christopher Winks (Queens College, City University of New York)

Day#2: Saturday October 16

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Panel #1 (9:30a.m.-11a.m.): Translation & Interdisciplinarity

Christopher Mole (Université Côte d’Azur)

Dror Abend-David (University of Florida, Gainesville)

María Luisa Rodríguez Muñoz (Universidad de Cordoba)

Panel #2 (11a.m.-12:30p.m.): Translation & Theory

Kaylee Lockett (University of Iowa)

Douglas Kristopher Smith (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso)

Asa Chen Zhang (University of Michigan)

Lunch (12:30p.m.-1:45p.m.)

Panel #3 (2p.m.-3:30p.m.): Translation of East Asian Literature

Maral Attar-Zadeh (Trinity College, University of Cambridge)

Hyunwook Kim (University of South Carolina)

Rebecca Ehrenwirth (University of Applied Sciences/SDI Munich)

Panel #4 (3:30p.m.-5:30p.m.): Translation & Postcolonialism

Dominique Faria (University of the Azores)

Nazia Akhtar (International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad)

Albeena Alvi (University of Delhi)

Richard Huddleson (University of California, Los Angeles)