Call for Proposals: Of Peninsula and Archipelago, The Landscape of Translation in Southeast Asia

What can the study of translation in and of the Southeast Asian region contribute to Translation Studies? Unlike other Asian regions, Southeast Asian countries do not have cultural, linguistic or religious commonalities. Their grouping is more or less a political and geographical convenience which makes any analysis of this region’s cultural activities challenging. Geographically, Southeast Asia can be divided into mainland and maritime sub-regions, with differences between peninsular and archipelagic cultures. The peninsula suggests a solid, unified and seamless space in a well-defined boundary, whereas the archipelago evokes the image of scattered entities, both united and separated by the fluidity of waters. There is, however, a lack of tangible intraregional translational activities, which invites closer scrutiny of the geographical and linguistic landscapes that have underpinned Southeast Asia’s translation traditions. The cultural, philosophical and historical aspects of how translation is configured in this region remains largely under-researched. This workshop seeks to explore whether and to what extent different geographical settings shape translation practices and concepts in this region.

Landscape is a geographical term that has been used to describe translation as a spatial metaphor. Several recent works put landscape at the heart of their research investigation, such as Sherry Simon’s Cities in Translation (2012), Translation Studies’ 2013 special issue on ‘Global Landscapes of Translation,’ edited by Kershaw and Saldanha, which includes a number of articles on landscape and translation in different cultures, and the 2014 TS special issue on ‘the City as Translation Zone,’ edited by Michael Cronin and Sherry Simon which focuses on the role of translation in urban space. Kershaw and Saldanha view the landscape as “the environments in which translations are produced and received, and [challenging] images of such environments as stable substances within fixed boundaries” (135). Following this focus on landscape, this workshop aims to take the question of translation and landscape further by considering the plurality of Southeast Asian landscapes and how it shapes translation as both a practice and a concept. The assumption of peninsular singularity as opposed to archipelagic gallimaufry will be the central focus for an examination of the relationship between landscape and translation, in order to shed light on landscape as an important aspect of the “producing and receiving environments” in which translation takes place. The effects of other related landscapes such as straits, islands, landlocks, buffer states etc. will also be addressed. Since landscape is crucial in the cultural imagination of Southeast Asia, the workshop will investigate the extent to which the landscape metaphor is valuable to explain, describe, or even, theorise translation for this region.

Finally, we would want to consider the ways by which natural disasters brought about by human-driven changes in the climate—from earthquakes, tsunamis, super-typhoons, flooding, forest fires, landslides, etc.—not only drastically change the landscape and decimate entire populations, but how they also introduce communicative emergencies that alter the terms of what can and can’t be translated. In the midst of climate-induced trauma, for example, how is translation even possible? In the face of the destruction of forests and the flooding of cities and town, how are translative protocols radically revised? And how do practitioners of Translation Studies respond?

The organisers invite abstracts that address the following and other relevant issues of landscape and translation in relation to Southeast Asia:

· How do landscapes affect the concepts and practices of translation? Conversely, how does translation influence the conceptualization of geographical landscape?

· What kinds of linguistic movements are facilitated or blocked by certain geographical landscapes?

· How do landscape metaphors help us describe translation?

· How does landscape contribute to the concept of untranslatability?

· How do the complex relations between geographic boundaries and translation contribute to the making of national or cultural identities?

· What historic links can we see between landscape, translation and the travel of cultures amongst the Southeast Asian countries?

· Have changing notions of distance and proximity influenced the nature and direction of translation in the region?

· How does climate-induced natural disaster impact translation?

· How does eco-critical translation studies relate to the Southeast Asian context?

Abstracts in English, of no more than 300 words, are invited focusing on the conceptual interrelations between translation, landscape and Southeast Asia and should be submitted to Dr. Phrae Chittiphalangsri (phrae.c@chula.ac.th and academic.ccti@chula.ac.th) together with the authors’ CVs by 1st April 2019. The organisers will endeavor to include papers from all Southeast Asian countries to present a well-rounded and substantially comprehensive picture of the region.

Bilingual workshop

The working languages for this workshop are English and Thai. All accepted abstracts will be translated into Thai. Presentations will be delivered in English with Thai simultaneous interpretation. Please note, if your proposal is accepted, you will be asked to submit a draft of your presentation on or before August 17, 2019in order for interpreters to familiarize themselves with your presentation before the event.

Publication

The workshop organisers plan an edited volume arising from the workshop entitled, “Of Peninsula and Archipelago: The Landscape of Translation in Southeast Asia” and co-edited by Vicente Rafael and Phrae Chittiphalangsri. Presentations that speak to the main themes of the workshop will be invited to submit chapters for review.

Important Dates

First call for papers 25 January 2019

Deadline for submission of abstracts 1 April 2019

Notification of acceptance 1 May 2019

Submission of draft of presentation/paper August 17, 2019

Workshop at Chulalongkorn University 31 August-1 September 2019

Submission of book proposal to publisher 31 October 2019

Submission of first draft 1 March 2020

Publication of edited volume early 2021

Free Accommodation for Presenters

Presenters are eligible for a free two-night stay at Chulalongkorn University’s iHouse (https://www.chula.ac.th/en/academics/life-at-cu/accommodation/). Note that in case of multiple authors, only one presenter per proposal is eligible for free accommodation.

Workshop organizers:

Professor Vicente L. Rafael, University of Washington

Dr. Phrae Chittiphalangsri, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

This workshop is funded by Chulalongkorn University and IATIS Regional Workshop Fund including matched support from ROUTLEDGE.

Suggested Readings

Prospective contributors may find the following books and articles helpful:

Chittiphalangsri, Phrae. 2019. “From plagiarism to Incense sticks: the making of self and the other in Thai translation history.” A World Atlas of Translation. Eds Yves Gambier and Ubaldo Stecconi. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 105-124.

Cronin, Michael & Sherry Simon. 2014. “Introduction: The city as translation zone.” Translation Studies, 7:2, 119-132, doi: 10.1080/14781700.2014.897641

Kershaw, Angela & Gabriela Saldanha. 2013. “Introduction: Global landscapes of translation.” Translation Studies, 6:2, 135-149, doi: 10.1080/14781700.2013.777257

Pratt, Mary Louise. 1992. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge.

Pratt, Mary Louise. 2002. “The Traffic in Meaning: Translation, Contagion, Infiltration.” Profession, Fall: 25–36. doi:10.1632/074069502X85275

Rafael, Vicente L. 2016. Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation. Durham: Duke University Press.

Rafael, Vicente L. 2005. The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines. Durham: Duke University Press.

Simon, Sherry. 2012. Cities in Translation: Intersections of Language and Memory. London and New York: Routledge.

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