Translating Transgender: A Winter Workshop at the University of Arizona

We will invite 15 leading scholars in Translation Studies and Transgender Studies to work together for three days to define future intersections between these two fields. Each scholar will translate a new “key text” prior to the event, which will be presented for feedback over the course of the workshop and then published in an anthology.

Due to the stigma on researching sexuality and nonnormative gender throughout history, rather few primary and secondary texts about transgender lives and ideas have been translated and preserved from language to language in any formal way over the centuries. Meanwhile, precisely this stigma has meant that queer and transgender individuals become travelers, exiles, and multilinguals in greater numbers and intensities than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. The result for us today is that the extant literatures in transgender studies (and related fields like LGBT Studies and Queer Studies) are more Anglophone, more monolingual, and less translated than they historically ought to be, while the subjects that produced those literatures have often been prototypes of transnational and translingual border-crossing. This paradox continues to constrain disciplinary and conceptual agendas around sexuality and gender a great deal more than in, say, fields like nuclear physics, business management, English literature, or sociology—where primary texts were published in translation already in the discipline’s early years.

This is an important problem for transgender studies and civil discourse alike because the Anglophone disposition leads policy-makers, public intellectuals, and academics to use ethnocentric conceptual resources to make sense out of sexuality and gender as aspects of the human condition. The methods and discoveries of transgender studies can also bring a great deal to bear on concepts and categories of importance in translation studies: i.e. equivalence, translatability, adequacy, original / copy, fealty, authenticity, function, and coherence.

“Translating Transgender” will bring together leading thinkers in Translation Studies and Transgender Studies, at a university campus that is quickly becoming a cutting-edge, global hub of both fields. Workshop participants will be in residence for three days during January of 2015. They will be housed together in a setting that promotes ongoing dialogue and exploration, and will participate in the following schedule of discussions and seminars, as well as two public events. Five to ten UofA faculty or advanced graduate students may apply to attend, and must fulfill all of the participation requirements. Contact David Gramling with questions or interest.

About livelongday

Associate Professor of German Studies, Director of Graduate Studies Co-Editor of Critical Multilingualism Studies | Co-Investigator, Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law, and the State (2014–2017)
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