"Cultural Translation and Gender: Performatory Ethics of a Translator"; III International Conference of Caesurae Collective Society

Nikhila H.'s picture
March 13, 2019 to March 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, South Asian History / Studies

Cultural Translation, as Bhabha defines it, is more of a process involving the movement of people (subjects and subjectivities) rather than the movement of texts (objects). The concept of cultural translation draws on several wide notions of translation in various fields such as social anthropology, “translation sociology”, and sociologies which study communication between groups most often shaped by the processes of migration and groups in complex, fragmented societies. So the broad concept of Cultural Translation addresses problems in postmodern sociology, cultural hybridity and helps us to think about a globalizing world in which there is no start text and usually no fixed target text. The idea of cultural translation by the Indian Cultural theorist, Homi K Bhabha in the chapter titled: “How Newness Enters the World: Postmodern Space, Postcolonial Time and Trials of Cultural Translation” (in The Location of Culture, 1994/ 2004) offers the idea of negotiation in the “third space”, which is the space for border crossing, hybridity, subversion, transgression, blasphemy, heresy and so on. According to Bhabha, the object of cultural translation is also “non-substantive translation” that comes from the position of a translator. The translator in question is an indeterminate cultural hybrid, being part of the 2 ongoing cultural processes. Bhabha also opines that translatorial movements traverse previously established borders and that the two-side borders figured by translators produce illusory oppositions. Moreover, translation has a performatory function to play in cultural communication, between and within cultures. The cultures in question could be minority cultures and border crossings in feminist, gay, lesbian and gendered communities. Bhaba’s “third space” thus opens up interesting avenues for the study of translation strategies used for gender which could be socio-cultural or interplay between biological and socio-cultural distinctions on the one hand and linguistic exponents of grammatical genders on the other. This notion of Cultural Translation has been widely used in the last two decades to understand the process of change across cultures.

In agreement with Bhaba’s focus on the cultural process rather than on the materiality of the cultural product, Sherry Simon’s (Gender in Translation: Cultural Identity and the Politics of Translation, 1996) and Luise Von Flotow’s (Translation and Gender: Translation in the Era of Feminism, 1997) monographs proclaimed a “cultural turn”, to shift the focus of translation studies from linguistic/ textual analysis to a broader ideological/ cultural context using gender as an entry point. Ideas related to cultural translation and gender have become more complex and nuanced, paying more attention to political, historical, social circumstances and inequalities, ideological values, identities and individual choices. Ethics of translation translates itself to identity formation and cultural translation.

This Caesurae International Conference, in collaboration with Bharati College, Delhi University and IIC, Delhi, invites presentations on how cultural translation defines gender or gets defined by gender, based on the performatory ethics of the translator in a given socio-political-historical time frame.

The broad subheads on the theme would include:

· Gender, Meaning and Cultural Negotiation

· Gendered Translation

· Translating Gender

· Migration, Gender and Cultural translation

· Indigenous communities in Translation and gender configurations

· Art and Gender

· Legal Verdicts and the Nation in performance

· Representation of Gender in Visuals and Multimedia

· Untranslatability of Gender

· The task of the Translator

· Linguistic Exponents of Gender

· Censorship and the Ethics of the Empowered

· Gender Representation and power politics

Please send your Abstracts to: culturaltranslconf@gmail.com by 15th January 2019

The conference will include Caesurae Creative Panels and Meet the Author Sessions along with academic panels, as part of the Conference.


Caesurae Membership is mandatory for paper presentation / participation in music workshop. Conference Registration Fee- Rs 3000

Caesurae Life Membership Fee: Rs 5000 Caesurae Annual Membership Fee: Rs 500


Submission of Abstract: 15th January, 2019.

Acceptance of Abstracts: 22nd January, 2019.

Full Paper Submission: 25th of February 2019.

Contact Info: 

Jayita Sengupta Secretary, Caesurae Collective Society Professor of English and Chair Cooch Behar Panchanan Barma University;  + 91 8017147503 (mob)

Dr. Nandini C Sen (Convener & Caesurae Member) Associate Professor of English Bharati College Delhi University; +91 9910082187 (mob.)