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Undisciplined: Translation as Creative-Critical Practice’s Rebellious Cartographies

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


In his book Imagining Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (1989), Benedict Anderson explored the role of the imagination in organising the social and political culture of nations, elaborating on the importance of literature in articulating a shared sense of place and temporality. This national framework is still the mainstream model under which most of translation studies, seen as a border-crossing activity between different national languages and cultures, operates today. James Holmes’s translation studies map reinforces this epistemic model by firmly dividing translation studies between practice and theory, thereby producing a disciplinary framework in which translators become passive intermediaries between pre-defined languages and cultures (1972). My book Translation as Creative-Critical Practice (2023) challenges this model by showing how creative-critical translation practices lead to theoretical insights into the nature of translation beyond its communicative framework. In this presentation, I will argue that by subverting and experimenting with translation norms, creative-critical translations also inaugurate new forms of planetary imagination and socio-ecological consciousness (Cronin 2016). Focusing on 20th and 21st century examples, I will explore how such translations question the neutrality of our current epistemic model of international relations by disrupting the temporal and spatial boundaries of nationalism, making visible, instead, planetary semiotic contexts and ecological realities which lie beyond the nation as an imagined community. I will define this as a form of worldmaking practice in translation: a way of creatively (re)making space and re-imagining forms of planetary socialisation through oppositional forms of translation and transmission.”

Event (Conference)

TitleTranslation and Creativity Conference
LocationUniversity of Galway
Degree of recognitionInternational event