CFP: "Detours de Babel" between East and West: Theorizing Translation in Early Modern Europe (Panel; 05/01/09; 10/1-3/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Katharina N. Piechocki, NYU

35th Southern Comparative Literature Association Conference, Arizona State University

"Translating and Mapping: Rethinking Literature in the Age of Globalization"

October 1-3, 2009

Panel: "Detours de Babel" between East and West: Theorizing Translation in Early Modern Europe

Seminar Organizer: Katharina N. Piechocki, New York University

"If the past is a foreign country, it follows that even the most monoglot of historians is a translator." (Paul Cohen/Peter Burke)

This panel investigates the manifold ways in which translation was theorized during the early modern period. The aim of the panel is double: on the one hand, it seeks to explore how current translation theories can be fruitfully rendered operational for the early modern period and, vice versa, it asks how early modern translation theories can enrich our conceptualizations of translation. On the other hand, it emphasizes the role and function of countries at the "margins" of Europe, such as (but not exclusively) Eastern European countries.

In order to move toward a theorization of translation in the early modern period, this panel asks the following questions: which early modern genres and texts lent/lend themselves to a theorization of translation? How can the concept of "cultural translation," such as developed by Bassnett, Levefere and, more recently, by Burke, be further complicated for the relationship between the European East and West? Where can the limits of the "detours" of Babel be assessed?

Papers might address the following topics:

* Models of "cultural translation"
* Metaphors of translation
* Center vs. periphery
* Error, straying and mistranslation
* Un/translatables and aporias of translation
* Textual genres and translation
* The task of the early modern translator

Please send a 250-word abstract including your affiliation and your contact by May 1st 2009 to Ileana A. Orlich ( or to Katharina N. Piechocki (