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Wednesday, 24 January 2024 12:54

Special Issue of Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture (Issue 15, 2025) - Language Traffic in the City: Translating Urban Space

Co-Editors of the issue:

Prof. Sherry Simon, PhD

Dr. Krzysztof Majer

With this volume, we aim to stimulate an interdisciplinary discussion of translation—its nature, processes, and capacities—in the context of urban space and various attendant modes of mobility. As Siri Nergaard reminds us, translation always implies a spatial dimension: inevitably “conditioned by space,” it can also “promote or provoke changes in the perception and the use of spaces and places” (9). This necessitates a different conceptualization of space as “a site where production and interpretation are intermingled, where translations occur and where identity is reinterpreted” (Simon, “Introduction” 11).

We are interested not only in how cultural transfer is enabled and negotiated, but also in actions that may limit or impede transmissibility. After all, the central figure invoked in Sherry Simon’s Cities in Translation is that of Hermes: “the god of both separation and connection [who] protects boundaries but through his magical powers also provides safe passage for travellers” (xv–xvii). This highly unstable entity—“messenger and trickster, trader and thief” (Simon, Cities xvii)—can also be seen as “a hermeneut: an inquiring mind, an interpreter of texts and a mediator across languages” (xvii–xviii).

The prospective volume is designed to continue, and expand on, various strands of scholarly discussion initiated by Sherry Simon’s publications (e.g., Translation Sites: A Field Guide, 2019; Cities in TranslationIntersections of Language and Memory, 2012; Translating Montreal: Episodes in the Life of a Divided City, 2006), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and the City (edited by Tong King Lee, 2021), the “Space” issue of Translation: A Transdisciplinary Journal (vol. 7, edited by Sherry Simon and Siri Nergaard, 2018), and the “The City as Translation Zone” issue of Translation Studies (vol. 7, no. 2, edited by Michael Cronin and Sherry Simon, 2014), among others.

We invite researchers in all fields related to translation to submit papers that will engage with the histories and contemporary lives of cities across the globe, not only Europe and North America, but also cities in Africa, Asia, Latin America. Former colonial cities are of particular interest as they develop new relationships across histories. Also of interest are symbolic sites in cities that bring together languages in specific ways: markets, hotels, bridges, opera houses. Translation and language relations can be approached through a great variety of methods—whether it be sociolinguistics, literature, communication theory, or artistic practices, including cinema.

Researchers are invited to engage with the following (the list is not exhaustive):

  • relationships between language and urban space;
  • translational/dual cities;
  • urban zones of translational resistance;
  • cultural meanings shaped through language interaction within the city;
  • urban forces impeding the transfer of language and memory;
  • dialogues between cities;
  • the city as translational palimpsest;
  • contested memories;
  • postcoloniality and translation spaces;
  • literary accounts of the multilingual city;
  • symbolic sites of language encounter;
  • artistic practices of language encounter, including avant-garde and experimental forms;
  • translators as city dwellers and cultural agents;
  • cities translated through violence, occupation, appropriation;
  • neighbours, strangers, immigrants, foreigners: translating otherness in the city.

Deadline for submissions: 31 Jan 2024

For more information, click here.

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