Toward an Intercivilizational Turn: TS and the Problem of Eurocentrism

Date: 05/03/2015

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Location: Centre for Translation, DLB 601, David C. Lam Building, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Speaker: Professor Douglas Robinson

Translation Seminar Series


Charges of Eurocentrism have been troubling the TS scholarly community lately, leading recently to a prominent countercharge in the pages of Translation Studies from Andrew Chesterman, who argues that science is always universalist, and that cultural relativists who accuse scholars like him of Eurocentrism are therefore simply wrong. This paper will offer a new way of thinking about Eurocentrism (or for that matter Sinocentrism, or any -centrism) based on the theoretical framework developed by the Japanese theorist Sakai Naoki around “cofigurative regimes of translation.” If Orientalism and its backlash Occidentalism are cofigurative–developed in relationships of unequal power–they aren’t “centered” in Europe or Asia or anywhere else, but globally networked. I will argue that the new voices emerging around this idea might be thought of as developing an “intercivilizational turn” in TS.

About the Speaker:

Professor Douglas Robinson is currently Chair Professor of English and Dean of Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University. Before coming to Hong Kong in 2010 as Tong Tin Sun Chair Professor of English and Head of the Department of English at Lingnan University, he worked at the University of Mississippi for over 20 years in various academic and administrative positions. Professor Robinson received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Licentiate degrees in English from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, and later obtained his second Master’s degree and his PhD in English at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Professor Robinson is a critical theorist whose “somatic” and “performative” theories of communication have broken new ground in literary studies, linguistics and translation studies. He has an impressive publication record which includes more than 20 monographs and 5 textbooks as well as articles in refereed journals and translation work from Finnish, German and Russian; he has been cited over 2700 times.

Toward an Intercivilizational Turn: TS and the Problem of Eurocentrism
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