Translating 18th- and 19th-century Science: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Alison Martin's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
September 17, 2020
Location: 
Germany
Subject Fields: 
Digital Humanities, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Modern European History / Studies

Translating 18th- and 19th-century Science: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

 

Conference venue: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Campus Germersheim), Germany

Dates: 17th-19th September 2020

 

By casting scientific communication as “knowledge in transit”, James Secord (2004) drew attention to translation’s central role in shaping the knowledge-sharing processes seminal to scientific endeavour. More recently, both historians of science and of translation studies have placed greater focus on the power dynamics that determine which texts are selected for translation, by whom and for onward transmission into which other languages and scientific cultures. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, “standard” languages of science started to emerge in Europe, marking a shift away from the lingua franca of Latin towards the development of a handful of more “major” languages, which cast themselves as carrying a cultural and intellectual authority in transnational scientific communities. Meanwhile the growing body of work on the relationship between 18th-and 19th-century science and literature has demonstrated that the stylistic choices, rhetorical devices and modes of expression deployed by scientific authors – and also their translators – were key to shaping a work’s credibility and, by association, the integrity of its writer.

 

Taking as its focus the translation of specialist scientific treatises, handbooks, periodicals, as much as more “popular” works intended for a broader audience (including adolescents and children), this conference seeks to investigate patterns of information flow in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is interested in the productive collaborative exchanges or tensions between authors and translators, the role of translators as gatekeepers of knowledge, and the (in)visibility of women and other subaltern groups in knowledge-making processes in this period. In this energetic period of nation-building, the relationship between identity, language and (trans)national scientific communities increasingly acquires relevance, as do the connections between colonial centre and periphery. The spatial dimensions of the practices of translation are relevant to these developments, as indeed are changes in print culture, distribution and the dynamics of the book market. The conference is also interested in how 20th- or 21st-century (re-)translations of scientific writing from the Enlightenment and Romantic periods have repositioned these source texts and their authors for the modern age.

 

This conference therefore seeks to develop our understanding of the mobility of scientific print culture by exploring the relationship between scientific writing and translation from the perspectives of cultural studies, translation studies, history of science, archival studies, history of the book and print culture studies. Participants are invited to address one or more of the following issues in their 30-minute papers:

 

  • scientific institutions, language policy and translation
  • theoretical approaches to the practices of scientific translation
  • science, translation and national identity
  • scientific authorship, style and translation
  • scientific translation and paratext
  • gender, agency and translation in science
  • translation in/of scientific periodicals
  • scientific translation and the materiality of print culture
  • text and image in scientific translation
  • geographies of translation and knowledge exchange
  • readers and reading communities of scientific work in translation
  • 18th- and 19th-century science, translation and the digital humanities
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  • Please send a title, abstract (max. 250 words) and bio (max. 100 words) by 13th September 2019 to Professor Alison E. Martin (JGU Mainz/Germersheim): amarti01@uni-mainz.de
Contact Info: 

Professor Alison E. Martin (JGU Mainz/Germersheim): amarti01@uni-mainz.de

Contact Email: