Rethinking the History of Western Translation

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Call for papers

"A Sea of Languages: Rethinking the History of Western Translation"

For a proposed anthology on translation in the ancient Mediterranean

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to either Siobhan McElduff ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ) or Enrica Sciarrino ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. )

Deadline: September 15, 2008.

Translation in the multi-lingual and multi-cultural world of the ancient Mediterranean was a manifest necessity, and yet there have been very few studies on the role of translation and translators in this rich linguistic environment. Even when authors such as Cicero and St. Jerome are discussed they are too often seen primarily as archaic precursors of modern Western translation theory and divorced from their cultural context. With the current upsurge of interest in translation and the explosive growth of the field of translation studies, we feel that this is an opportune time for scholars of the ancient Mediterranean to contribute to the present debate by complicating the too-often monolithic representation of ancient translation practices and to examine translation in this region as a field worthy of  investigation in its own right, as a multifaceted historically and culturally grounded activity.


We invite contributions to a proposed volume on translation and translators in the ancient Mediterranean which will place both in their historical, linguistic, literary, and cultural contexts. We seek papers from all regions and all time periods up to the 5th century CE. Questions we would like potential contributors to consider are: how did ancient translators function? Under what constraints did they operate? How did literary translators position themselves vis-à-vis other forms of translation? What role did official translation play? Can we recover ancient theories of translation?

We particularly seek papers that touch on the following topics, though papers on all subjects are welcome:
- ancient theories of translation
- translation and cultural appropriation
- official translations and translators
- interpreting and oral translation
- translation as literary transformation
- the physical and temporal environment of translation
- translator loyalties and translators as social agents
- religious translation and its constraints
- pseudo-translations

Notification of acceptance will be sent out by October 15, 2008. Please provide abstracts within the email itself or as attachments in MS Word.

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