Translation and Transformation

Date: 25/10/2007

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Location: Centre for Translation, DLB 701, David C. Lam Building, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Speaker: Prof Bill Ashcroft

Translation Seminar Series


The development of Translation Studies in the 1990s was the natural outcome of an increasing fluid and globalizing world. But that development was preceded by one that was much more political, much more resistant and yet one in which the spirit of translation figured strongly. This was the emergence of post-colonial studies at the end of the 1980s. Arising from literature departments in the formerly colonized world, post-colonial theory very quickly demonstrated that the appropriation of language by post-colonial writers provided a model for the operation of the ‘local’ in a globalized world. A central argument, perhaps the central argument in this developing field circulated around the use of a colonial language by decolonizing writers. Does the use of a colonial language continue to ‘colonize the mind’? Does it marginalize local languages? Does it fail to capture the essence of the writer’s culture? This paper addresses some of these questions at the point at which Translation Studies and Post-Colonial Studies meet: the point at which post-colonial writers transformed the language – English – with acts of literary production, acts of inner translation, acts that transformed the field of English literature and created a world audience. This meeting point suggests questions about the future relationship between these two fields.

About the Speaker:

Bill Ashcroft is a founding exponent of post-colonial theory. The Empire Writes Back co-authored with Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, was the first text to examine systematically a field that is now universally referred to as “post-colonial studies.” This volume is the standard text in the field, now in its tenth printing and translated into Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. Other publication and research interests include Australian literature, Australian cultural studies, critical theory and post-colonial literatures and theory, African literature and Indian literature. Representative publications include: The Empire Writes Back (London: Routledge 1989); The Post-colonial Studies Reader (London: Routledge 1995): The Gimbals of Unease: the Poetry of Francis Webb (Perth: CASAL 1997): Key Concepts in Post-colonial Studies (London: Routledge 1998); Edward Said: the Paradox of Identity (London: Routledge 1999); Edward Said (London: Routledge 2001); Post-colonial Transformation (London:Routledge 2001); On Post-colonial Futures (London: Continuum 2001).

Translation and Transformation
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