CfP Centering Black Cultural Production in Translation, deadline by June 15, 2021

Priscilla Layne's picture

Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature 

Special focus section: Centering Black Cultural Production in Translation

As recent debates around the translation of Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem demonstrate, public discourse generally lacks a sophisticated means for discussing the circulation of Black-authored texts or the position of Black translators within the world literary system. Even within translation studies as a discipline, the topic of Black-authored and -translated texts has been marginalized. This situation must be understood within the context of global anti-Black racism and the systemic exclusion of Black creators and thinkers from publishing, film, media, and academia. Within this structural context, an attention to the translation of Black African and diasporic cultural production may have vital and far-ranging impact. As Kaiama L. Glover (2019) argues, “translation informs the discourses that determine which black lives matter and, relatedly, the success or failure of policies and practices that have an explicit impact on those lives” (30).

This special focus of Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature (STTCL) explores translation of Black African and diasporic literature, film, and media. It aims to build on the work of translation scholars of Black African and diasporic texts such as Paul Bandia, Kathryn Batchelor, and Evan Maina Mwangi and of Black translators such as John Keene, Marion Kraft, and Wangui wa Goro. Recent advances in the field have allowed greater prominence for translation scholars located in Africa, increasing conversation about Blackness in translation in Brazil, and research into the translation of hip hop lyrics and the subtitling and dubbing of US-American films that feature African American Vernacular English. While some scholarship has analyzed Blackness in translation through the writing of White writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and French women abolitionists, this special focus centers Black cultural production and the possibilities it holds for non-normative ways of thinking and practicing translation.

Articles may examine Black-authored and/or -translated texts written and translated after 1900, or post-1900 translations of older texts. As STTCL focuses on texts in French, German, and Spanish, articles may address translations between these languages or translations between these languages and another language/other languages. We are particularly interested in texts that explore translations from or into indigenous African languages or Black creoles, pidgins, or dialects.

The journal's language of publication is English, so articles should be written in or translated into a variety of English (US, UK, Jamaican, Indian, Nigerian, etc.). Length should be between 6,000-8,000 words (including notes and references). Proposals that make use of the innovative and interactive potential of the journal’s online platform are encouraged. Interested authors should send a 300-500-word abstract to Dr. Priscilla Layne (playne@email.unc.edu) and Dr. Corine Tachtiris (ctachtiris@umass.edu) by June 15, 2021. Notification of abstract selection will be made by July 1, 2021. Full-length articles will be expected by November 30, 2021.