The "Geo" turn in Translation Studies

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association
contact email: 

Space and spatiality have been significant coordinates in the study of translation in the West. The concept has long been included in humanities and social sciences too by scholars like Edward Soja (1989); Warf & Arias (2009). This panel aims to question how the concept of “geo” features in translation and analyse translation as a point of intersection and relationality that redefines our concepts of spatial axis and territorial coordinates. This panel will try to bring in disciplines of geometry and geography to the terrain of translation studies and thus include alternative models to expand the field.

The etymological origin of ‘geometry’ traces back to the Greek word geometria or “measurement of earth or land”. Similarly ‘geography’ originates from Greek word geographia which means “description of the earth's surface”. The prefix trans- of ‘translation’ means ‘to go beyond’, ‘on the other side’. Thus, when taken together, translation from the geographical and geometrical perspective alludes to the question of movement in terms of land or space. If we take the model of Euclidean Geometry, then the western concept of translational act as a spatial flow can be understood from a geometrical angle as a process of distance-preserving/distance-altering transformation between two metrical/geographical spaces.

Again, translation, as a political activity, determines how communities are mapped by their cultural other and as such points out how the binaries of the centre and periphery construct our worldviews based on asymmetrical power relations. Michael Cronin (2000), while exploring the relationship between translation and geographical spaces, has meticulously considered movement both in the context of territorial and narrative space and analysed it through the lens of language. Federico Italiano (2016) has examined how Western spatial imaginations constructed through literary works have been translated across languages, media and epochs and created the idea of the world through cultural differences.

The translation of travel narratives, literary travelogues, nautical fictions has not only introduced the “unknown” but also created an imaginary geo-territorial space based on the global power politics.  As such, the proposed panel seeks to focus on the relationship between translation and spatiality from the geographical and/or geometrical perspective. How does the geographical, geometrical and geocritical factors influence translational power dynamics? What are the coordinating points that connect translation with geoterritoriality?

We will accept proposals that can deal with but not restricted to the following sub-themes:

Translation and cartographic imagination

Translational movement within geometrical coordinates

Territoriality, Spatiality, and translational plane

Travel and Translation

Translation as negotiation between spaces

Translation and territorial politics

Translated texts as geographical spaces of contact


Please click on the link below to access the seminar proposal 

Abstracts for paper presentations will be accepted till October 31, 2021, through the following link.