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Monday, 02 April 2012 17:08

Translation and Modernization in East Asia in the 19th and Early 20th Century

Translation and Modernization

in East Asia in the 19th and Early 20th Century


An International Conference 
Organized by the 
Research Centre for Translation, 
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

29-31 May 2012


This conference aims to study the role played by translation in the modernization process of the East Asian countries in the 19th and early 20th century, a project at the Research Centre for Translation (RCT), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, supported by the University’s Focused Investment Scheme and the RCT Research Programme Fund.

In the 19th and early 20th century, East Asia underwent a process of modernization to cope with the serious challenges brought by the Western powers. While different countries and places might have taken different courses, this process of modernization was characterized by numerous features, ranging from military, political, economic, technological and medical reforms to changes in the legal, administration, diplomatic as well as education, literary and media systems. There were a long-term socio-political and cultural impact, which shaped the "modern" East Asia in the 20th-21st century.

While modernization was in no way equivalent to westernization, many in the 19th and early 20th century saw the West as a model for modernization. Modernization in East Asia was thus more often than not taken as a process of learning from or even imitating the West. In this process, translation played a crucial role, when efforts were made to import Western ideas, knowledge, concepts and practices. Although numerous studies have been made of the modernization of East Asia, the lack of study of the role of translation in this process has been a major weakness in our understanding of the topic.

The present conference calls for submission of panel abstracts as well as abstracts for individual papers on the following or related topics on translation and modernization in East Asia:

Translation and the introduction of the concept of "modern" in East Asia
The role of translation in various aspects of modernization in East Asia
Western works translated into East Asia for modernization and their impact
Translators, patrons and other key players and institutions in translation and modernization of East Asia
The adoption and appropriation of western thinking and knowledge through translation in the modernization in East Asia
Contributions from other places and countries to the modernization of East Asia through translation


Important dates:
1. Abstracts submission deadline: 30 September 2012
2. Notification of Acceptance: 1 November 2012
3. Registration deadline: 28 February 2013
4. Conference date: 29–31 May 2013

Further information is available on the Conference website:

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