Translating Fear - 10th Colloquium on Translation Studies in Portugal

deadline for submissions: 
March 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
CECC - Research Centre for Communication and Culture
contact email: 

10th Colloquium on Translation Studies in Portugal

20-21 July 2017

Translating Fear

In a recent article published in The Guardian and in an upcoming book, author Pankaj Mishra argues that we are now living in the age of anger. While anger seems to be spreading globally, it often seems to result from and in fear and / or disenfranchisement. Questions such as ‘who speaks together, who breathes together, who translates?’ (Apter, 2009: 204) are in the foreground of almost every form of public discourse, shaping political concerns, new forms of identification, and redefining ways of living.

Modern-day fear and the resulting sense of vulnerability seem to breed an unassuageable anxiety over security: ‘Security obsessions are inexhaustible and insatiable […] [T]hey produce, on a constantly rising scale, their own reasons, explanations and justifications’ (Bauman, 2011: 60). Arguably, fear and the anxiety over security are the source of innumerable narratives that are already shaping the lives of millions on a global scale. Political, economic, literary, cinematic, artistic narratives about fear are thriving, feeding on anger and a sense of powerlessness that seems to inhabit present-day experiences of the world. In this context, translation often plays an ambivalent role, itself a battleground between different uses: at the service of identity and warmongering, on the one hand, and embodying a promise of mediation and (re)conciliation, on the other.

This is, however, nothing new. Historically, translation has been a heterogeneous locus, where both utopian peace efforts and the exertion of violence (co)exist, and hence it becomes a practice that often mirrors and / or shapes fear. Highlighting how translation has contributed to shape (and fight off) fears in the past may well help us to better understand how translation is a double-edged activity, as both translation and untranslatability have been used as potential (and at times very effective) ways of silencing others or of resisting hegemonic practices.

This conference aims to discuss how fear is a pervasive human experience, and as such is widely and diversely represented in various discursive practices, from the political to the literary. We argue that fear seems to be at the heart of both present-day and past forms of anger, an anger that is produced in and by discourse and in and through translation.

Thus, we will welcome scholars who are willing to discuss whether, and how, fear can be verbalized and translated – i.e., carried across continents, languages and cultures – and how different discursive practices (re)produce fear and violence. As Arjun Appadurai points out, ‘large-scale violence is not simply the product of antagonistic identities but […] violence itself is one of the ways in which the illusion of fixed and charged identities is produced’ (2006: 7). Thus, violence can be seen as the negation of translatability understood as a form of mobility and of upsetting fixidity.

Being culturally produced, fear of other(s) can, arguably, be read as a form of externalizing experiences of displacement and unbelonging and translating a nostalgia for stability as fixidity. We would like to discuss how fear is (re)produced in the translation of political speeches, literature, newsreels, television shows, advertisements, etc.

Papers on the following topics are welcome:

  •  Translation and terror(ism)
  •  Translating / producing fear in the news
  •  Translation and repression
  •  Fear, globalization & translation
  •  Translating fear in literature and the arts
  •  Thrillers and the translatedness (or untranslatability) of enemies
  •  Ethics and partisanship in translation
  •  Asymmetries in / of representation in translation
  •  Language politics, war and translation
  •  Otherization as resistance to and / or promotion of fear
  •  Translation, identity and violence
  •  Translation and vulnerability
  •  Translation as utopia
  •  Untranslatability as resistance


Confirmed keynote speakers:

Michelle Woods (SUNY New Paltz – USA)

Isabel Capeloa Gil (Universidade Católica Portuguesa – CECC)

The conference languages are English and Portuguese. Speakers should prepare for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to Maria Lin Moniz ( and Alexandra Lopes ( by March 10, 2017.

Proposals should list the paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection will take place by April 16, 2017.


Early bird (by May 30th):

Participants – 75€

Students (ID required) — 50€

After May 30th but no later than July 1st:

Participants – 100€

Students (ID required) – 80€

The registration fee includes coffee breaks and lunches on the two days of the conference, as well as conference documentation.

Organizing Committee:

Teresa Seruya

Maria Lin Moniz

Alexandra Lopes

Scientific Committee:

Teresa Seruya (CECC / University of Lisbon), President

Margarida Vale Gato (CEAUL / University of Lisbon)

Peter Hanenberg (CECC / Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Rita Bueno Maia (CECC / Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Alexandra Lopes (CECC / Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Maria Lin Moniz (CECC – Research Centre for Communication and Culture)

Brigitte Rath (University of Innsbrück)

Tom Toremans (University of Leuven)