OCCT MT 2020 Week 6 Updates

OCCT invites submissions for a one-day virtual workshop, Fictions of Retranslations: Retranslating Language and Style in Prose Fiction. The workshop will be hosted online, on 12 March 2021. We encourage doctoral students and early careers researchers working on retranslations of prose to send an abstract (350 words) and a brief bio (150 words) by 14  December 2020 to rowan.anderson@ell.ox.ac.uk and anna.saroldi@ell.ox.ac.uk. For the full CFP see here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/fictions-retranslations-retranslating-language-and-style-prose-fiction.


On Monday, 16 November 2020, the Discussion Group welcomed Claudio Russello, an Oxford DPhil student, who explored the topic, Transitioning into the vernacular: China and Greece in parallel.




1. Call for CLE’s Small Grants competition


Are you planning to attend a conference (in person or online), invite a guest speaker, organise or run a workshop and just need a little bit of funding for research or creative activities? Cultural Literacy Everywhere (CLE) is offering small grants of £100-£250 to CLE members. 

These can be used to enable researchers to attend conferences and events, whether in person or online. Members can also apply for funding towards the costs of organising events such as conferences, workshops, talks or artistic performances. The funding is competitive and is allocated by the CLE Steering Group in autumn and spring each year.


Note that you will have to be a member of CLE in order to apply: https://cleurope.eu/membership/sign-up-for-membership/

The next round of applications is now open and the deadline for submissions is 25th November 2020

Please fill in the form and submit online here: https://cleurope.eu/application-for-small-grant-funding-via-cle/

If you have any questions please email info@cle.world For more information about Cultural Literacy Everywhere, see our website: www.cle.world



Contemporary Fictions of Migration and Exile: Writing Diaspora in the 21st Century

Guest editors:
María Alonso Alonso (University of Vigo)
Bárbara Fernández Melleda (University of Hong Kong)

Deadline for abstract submissions: March 31, 2021
Notification of acceptance: May 31, 2021
Submission of full articles: May 31, 2022
Tentative publication date: early 2023

James Procter (2007) defines 'diaspora' as both a geographical phenomenon and a theoretical concept that stands for the physical movement of people from one area to another, and for a particular way of understanding world order and cultural representations. Literature mirrors some of the most immediate challenges that contemporary society has to face as migration has turned 'glocal'. Many characteristics that shape contemporary migratory movements depend on the destination sought, the circumstances that force them, and the links maintained with the country of origin. This special issue is interested in exploring the ways in which contemporary fiction writes legal, illegal migration and the different shades between both. The European Union, as a comfort zone (Cafruny and Ryner 2003; Schmidt 2006; Geddes 2008) and the border between Mexico and the U.S., as a conflict zone (Anzaldúa 1987; Tokatlian 2000; Staudt 2008) are two of most productive 'diaspora spaces' (Brah 1996) for analysing the subaltern position of the migrant subject through literature, although not the only ones. Transoceanic movements of Afghan, Somali and/or Syrian refugees that seek shelter, the case of Hongkongers whose flexible citizenship has allowed them to ameliorate political risks, or the Windrush Generation being sent back to Jamaica by the UK Home Office are some of the myriads of diasporic experiences of interest for contemporary authors.

We are looking for innovative approaches to texts that offer new literary techniques, styles, aesthetics, voices and/or themes that shed light on the critical issues that contemporary migrations represent for society in a general sense at the dawn of the 21st century. Suggested topics include both theoretical and practical approaches to fiction written in English, and avenues of research related to:

•       Transmigration through comfort and/or conflict zones
•       Mass migration vs individual migration
•       Refugee literature
•       Displacement and transterritorialisation
•       Migrants and host communities
•       First and second generation migrants
•       Climate migrants

Call for Papers

We invite authors to submit abstract proposals for the "Contemporary Fictions of Migration and Exile: Writing Diaspora in the 21st Century" special issue before March 31, 2021. The document should include a 500-word summary, 5 keywords and a bio note including the author's name, institutional affiliation and avenues of research. Abstracts should be sent to malonsoalonso@uvigo.es and bfernan@hku.hk under the subject "Writing Diaspora SI".

The selected abstracts will be compiled as the special issue's table of contents in order to be submitted for final approval to an international, top-tier journal. Full articles will be revised by the guest editors before submission for peer reviewing

Further information: https://amstudy.hku.hk/news/20201028.html


3. Beyond the Two Shores: Indian Magazines and World Literature between Decolonisation and the Cold War


26 November 2020

15:00 – 16:30 GMT





Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation

Co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)

Speaker: Francesca Orsini (SOAS)

We sometimes forget that for many readers in many parts of the world, exposure to world literature largely took place on the pages of magazines, through translations, reviews, snippets of information or survey articles – with the short story as the main unit of literary exchange. One part of my enquiry in this talk – and of a series of webinars on The Magazine and World Literature I am co-running with Patricia Novillo-Corvalan – concerns the production and experience of world literature through the magazine, how magazines differ from other platforms for world literature (the book series, the anthology, the course), and what analytical vocabulary they require.

More specifically, this talk explores how Indian magazines of the 1950s to 1970s “did” world literature, and how this relates to the geopolitics of the Cold War, but also to decolonisation and Third Worldism. If competing efforts on both sides of the Cold War to promote literatures from one’s sphere of influence led to a large number of literary translations that magazines could pick from (leading scholars to hail a new “global simultaneity of literary time”, Holt, Rubin), many in India were wary of the two blocs. As a result, Hindi mainstream magazines articulated their own vision of literary Third Worldism and became sites of “spectacular internationalism”.

This was also the golden period of magazine publishing in Hindi, with several story magazines that invested much effort not just in showcasing new Hindi literary talent but also in translating writing from other Indian languages and from foreign literatures, what I call here “literary activism”. What “significant geographies” of world literature did this translation effort produce? Did literary choices simply follow ideological and geopolitical affiliations? And how is the experience of world literature that magazines produce different from the more systematic but abstracted ambition of the book series or the university course?

This free event will be held online, at 15:00 GMT. Please note that you will need to register in advance to receive the online event joining link: https://modernlanguages.sas.ac.uk/events/event/23336





Conference at SWANSEA UNIVERSITY, 1-3 September 2021


We invite proposals for one-off themed panels to be included in the general Call for Papers for the next AGS conference at Swansea University, 1-3 September 2021.


If you are interested in convening a panel, from selecting the paper proposals to chairing the panel at the Swansea conference, please send a brief description (c. 100 words) to the Conference Officer Sascha Stollhans (s.stollhans@lancaster.ac.uk) by 29 January 2021. Proposals will be selected in February to be included in the Call for Papers, which will be sent out in late February/early March 2021.


If you are interested in running a special panel with confirmed speakers, please also contact Sascha Stollhans by 29 January 2021 with your idea and (provisional) list of speakers. Full proposals and abstracts of the speakers’ papers are not required at this stage.


Please note that we are going to run a number of panels in 2021 that were originally envisaged to run at the 2020 Conference, which had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We therefore may not have space to accept as many new panel proposals as in previous years. Although we hope to be able to run an in-person conference at Swansea University in 2021, we may need to move the programme online, depending on the circumstances nearer the time.


If you would like to discuss initial ideas or have any questions before submitting your proposal, please contact Sascha Stollhans (s.stollhans@lancaster.ac.uk).




5. Queen’s Translation Exchange


International Book Club - 8pm Wednesday 25th November


The next International Book Club meeting will be on Wednesday 25th November at 8pm (GMT). We’ll be discussing Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s book, Zero (Nordisk Books), translated from Norwegian. The translator, Rosie Hedger, will be joining us live for our discussion, taking place on Zoom. 


The book can be purchased directly from the publisher, who have kindly offered us a discount. You can use the discount code IBCZERO15 to get 15% off at checkout until midnight on the day of the meeting. 


To register, go to our website: https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/international-book-club

Gine Cornelia Pedersen debuted with this explosive novel, which won the prestigious Tarjei Vesaas First Book Award. Compared, in its home country of Norway, with a ‘punk rock single’, the unique lyrical style and frank description of life with mental health problems have come together to create one of the most exciting works of fiction from Scandinavia in recent years.   


Rosie Hedger’s translation of Zero was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2019, and her translation of Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal won an English PEN Translates Award in 2016. Ravatn’s novel was later selected for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, broadcast in January 2017, and was shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for emerging translators in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett. Since then she has worked on a range of projects, more information about which can be found here. She is a member of the Translator’s Association. 


6. Queen’s Translation Exchange


A translation workshop with Rachael McGill, working collaboratively on a novel by Adrienne Yabouza from the Central African Republic.

Wed, 2 December 2020

19:30 – 21:00 GMT

Online Event

Join fellow readers and writers to translate together a passage from Co-épouses et co-veuves by Adrienne Yabouza. The workshop will be led by Rachael McGill, currently working on a translation of the novel for Dedalus Books. No knowledge of French is necessary! Materials will be circulated in advance.



7. In, on, around, across the Mediterranean: Displacement, ethics and the challenge of representation in fiction, drama, life writing and the visual arts.

Centre for Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London


Blue skies and sunny beaches – rickety boats perilously crowded with migrants. Space of encounter, cradle of culture – border patrolled by coastguards and drones. The images of the Mediterranean struggle to escape the stereotypes, and the narratives around and across this sea seem to be arranged around recurring binaries:  tourist travel – trafficking of migrants; the crowded beach (or the picturesque quiet cove) – the overcrowded refugee camp looking out to a forbidden sea; poverty and destitution – wealth and prosperity; the refugee as victim – the refugee as criminal (or at least scrounger).

How do literature and the arts challenge these perceptions, binaries and stereotypes in representations of migrants and refugees? Can the Mediterranean be re-shaped as a space of possibility and of disruption of assumptions and power structures? How can narratives located in and around the Mediterranean offer resistance and different modes of constructing, or disrupting identities?


This seminar, hosted by the Centre for Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London, will consider how works of fiction, of life writing, for the theatre, and in visual arts – each focusing on different areas of the Mediterranean – challenge dominant representations to create alternative imaginative spaces of autonomy, dignity and responsibility; how they engage audiences to see beyond the alienation of the other.



Silvia Caserta (University of St. Andrews, UK), “Speaking (up) from the abyss. The Mediterranean middle passage in Lina Prosa’s Lampedusa Beach”

Mariangela Palladino (University of Keele, UK), “‘Etre vraiment vrai’: Exhibiting visual stories of migration in Morocco”

Rita Sakr (Maynooth University, Ireland), “The ethico-politics of mixed-genre, relational life-writing in Atef Abu Saif’s The Drone Eats with Me”

Meritxell Joan-Rodríguez (University of Barcelona and European Institute of the Mediterranean, Spain), “The ‘Mediterranean Borderland’ through the works of Najat El Hachmi”


Chaired by Lucia Boldrini, Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London


Friday 4 December 2020, 16:00-18.15 GMT (online via Zoom)


Attendance is free but registration is essential.


Eventbrite page for booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-on-around-across-the-mediterranean-challenging-representation-tickets-128250258977


8. CFP ‘The Translation Memoir/Translation as Memoir’

An Online Symposium

Friday 9th of July 2021

Organiser: Dr. Delphine Grass d.grass@lancaster.ac.uk


The translation memoir can be defined as a reflexive writing practice on the personal and political intersection between identity and translation. Recent years have seen a boom in the publications of translation memoirs, with authors in the genre encompassing translators such as Kate Briggs (2017), Mireille Gansel (2012), Corinna Gepner (2019), Gregory Rabassa (2005) and Jennifer Croft (2019). These have engaged critical-creative reflections on the affective, political and transcultural work of translating literary texts, questioning the literary conventions which separate reading and writing, writing and translation. The translation memoir has also participated in a wider postmodern philosophical shift in the rethinking of identity and autobiography [Karpinsky 2012], engaging a form of authorial self-retrieval from within the dominant identity discourses of authorship, nationality, gender and the self. By highlighting the fluidity of national and cultural identities, translation memoirs investigate otherness from the perspective of translation, interrogating the limits of national and gender identity through the practice of rewriting the text and the self in other languages. The practice of translation as memoir, which can be found in such works as Anne Carson’s Nox for example, but also in the creative critical practice of Clive Scott, often engages a wider reflection on the relationship between translation and memory, translation and the survival of the text. What sets the translation memoir apart from other memoirs? What translation theories, what forms of literary criticism have paved the way for the boom in translation-memoir writing we are witnessing today? 


Participants are invited to give papers which explore any aspect of the translation memoir as a creative and philosophical investigation of the self through translation, but also on the practice of translation as memoir. Critical-creative investigations of the subject are also welcome. As well as analysing the translation memoir as a form of self-authorization of the translator as writer, participants are invited to reflect more widely on the impact of the translation memoir on the fields of translation studies, philosophy and life writing. What unauthorized identities are being mediated by translation metaphors in the translation memoir? What new ways of thinking about identity can emerge from rethinking the self in relation to translation? 


Participants in the conference will have the opportunity to publish their papers in a special issue of Life Writing on the translation memoir.


Please email your abstracts to d.grass@lancaster.ac.uk with ‘Translation Memoir Abstract’ as subject heading.


Deadline for abstract submission: 15th of January 2021


Conference date:  Friday 9th of July 2021.


9. Eco-Translation: Comparative Literature and the Environmental Humanities


2 December 2020

13:00 – 15:00 GMT (time change)



Part of the Convocation Seminars in World Literature and Translation

Postgraduate workshop co-convened with LINKS (London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies)

Discussants: Florian Mussgnug (UCL) and Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway University London)
Chair: Joseph Ford (Royal Holloway University London)

Global warming demands new forms of linguistic and conceptual inventiveness that can alert readers to unfamiliar and counterintuitive scales. As ecocritic Timothy Clark has suggested, much environmental damage happens at a scale that cannot be fully expressed by traditional realist modes of literary representation. It is brought about by individual human actions which are not ecologically significant in themselves but which collectively, across space and over time, threaten much of what we value about humanity and the more-than-human world. In the context of the climate crisis, this relation between individual observable causes and vast global effects marks a stark challenge to familiar anthropocentric narratives. It demands an unprecedented ability to move between counterintuitive scales and to communicate the unfamiliar. Writerly and critical attention to nonhuman subjectivity – a creative process that is also known as inter-species translation – marks a particularly important aspect of this new cultural and political agenda. 

In this workshop, we will read and discuss three chapters: by Timothy Clark, who has linked scalar literacy to the political critique of anthropocentrism; by cultural theorist Michael Cronin, who has stressed the significance of translation, beyond its linguistic origins, as a powerful metaphor for inter-species exchange; by Kari Weil who invites us to explore the apparent paradox of posthuman autobiography. Eco-translation, as defined by Cronin, and posthumanism, for Weil, foreground the importance of the more-than-human world, not as a mere backdrop or context for human stories, but as a co-constitutive presence that intersects with human culture and society in a single, volatile temporal force field. Translation, which “on the face of it appears to be a pre-eminently human activity”, thus comes to express extended forms of ecological relatedness (Cronin 2017: 13). Dramatic shifts in the common perception of distance, proximity and context, according to Cronin and Weil, are not only a persistent feature of cultural and linguistic translation: they also define our planetary habitat in times of anthropogenic crisis.

Preparatory Reading
Timothy Clark, “Scalar Literacy”, in The Value of Ecocriticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 38-56.
Michael Cronin, “Translating Animals”, in Eco-Translation: Translation and Ecology in the Age of the Anthropocene (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 67-93.
Kari Weil, “Autobiography”, in Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Posthuman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 84-95.

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