CFP: Economies of Translation (grad) (12/31/06; 3/2/07-3/3/07)

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Panel for Figures of Comparison in the Humanities and the Social
Sciences, the second annual graduate student conference of The
Center for Comparative Literature and Society (CCLS)

Date/Place: March 2nd-3rd, 2007/ Columbia University, New York

CFP: Economies of Translation/Transfiguration/… (panel moderated by
Elizabeth Povinelli)

Karl Marx argues in the Grundrisse that the money form is a fantasy
of translation and that commodity exchange emerges at the
boundaries of otherwise distinct communities. This is only one
speculative genealogy establishing translation as a
concept/practice that binds together multiple economies of
circulation. Insofar as comparativism is often described as a
process of translation – between languages, disciplines, cultures,
histories, and more – this panel seeks to investigate the hegemony
of translation as a figure for comparative work. For example,
according to Elizabeth Povinelli and Dilip Gaonkar, the concept of
transfiguration is more adequate to the current moment than the
concept of translation: "Focusing on transfiguration rather than
translation – the refunctioning of a text as such for different
demanding-sites – orients our analysis toward the calibration of
vectors of power rather than vectors of meaning-value." We are also
thinking, for example, of the musical notion of transposition as a
productive alternative metaphor; but there are many others. For
this panel, we invite papers that discuss questions such as: Is
translatability a conceptual infrastructure which remains in the
face of a new and mathematicized lingua franca? Is it something
else? What is at stake politically or ethically in a methodological
shift away from translation? If such a shift leads from trans-lation
to trans-figuration or trans-position, what are the implications of
insisting on the prefix trans-? What could be the benefits of the
prefixes inter- or cross-? How can we understand the residual force
of the nation or the region in producing and regulating
economic/political/cultural relations in the age of globalization?

The conference will be introduced by the director of CCLS, Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak. All panels will be moderated by Columbia
University faculty members. The conference will close with a
roundtable discussion in which the panel moderators will present
their concluding thoughts and open the discussion to the public.
You can visit the following website for more information on the

Please send a 300-500 word abstract to the following e-mail address
no later than December 31st, 2006:

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Received on Tue Nov 28 2006 - 17:56:03 EST