Other Destinations. Translating the Mid-sized European City

Sonja Novak's picture
Call for Publications
February 20, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Linguistics, Languages, Cultural History / Studies

This call intends to bring forth a number of recent, original texts from across the full range of languages used in our COST Action CA18126 Writin Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City https://writingurbanplaces.eu/ about apparently overlooked mid-size European cities by translating them (fully or as extracts) into English. While English translations of works about prominent European cities are numerous, there is arguably a major deficit of attention to the treatments in contemporary writing of the mid-sized European cities to which our Action has a particular commitment.

The inter-cultural and inter-linguistic composition of our Action community requires that full consideration be given to an often neglected aspect of the processes set out above – that while they occur in parallel across the continent, they are often largely imperceptible beyond the national, or indeed even local, linguistic and cultural space. There is a residual territoriality to every urban space, which it is critically important to maintain in view.

International research collaborations typically elide this problem of mutual visibility, as professionalised international actors identify through an ability to operate in a common language, albeit with often very different underlying perceptions of the meanings at stake. Translation is thus a key tool when it comes to thinking through the multiple realities involved in 'writing urban places'. It also opens up the question of our broader work as 'translational' – between cultures and linguistics spaces, but also between disciplines, and between the spaces of research and wider social practice.

Our Action has as its central focus the relations of human subjects – individuals, groups, communities, societies – with the built environments of mid-sized European cities. Central to this question is the ability of such 'civic subjects' to participate in the meanings generated by and in those cities, and to appropriate such meanings through co-creative, adaptative and transformative processes, many of which have a textual quality.

The translation project intends to enhance the dissemination and accessibility to an international readership of texts about overlooked urban contexts, their stories and signifying practices. It will therefore develop better awareness of these cities, their self-constructions, and their responses to the challenges of the present. The planned result is a publication of a printed book in form of a reader that can serve both the academic community (for research and teaching) but also the wider public.

Criteria of selection
Topic: mid-sized European cities (‘other’ cities – not capitals or metropolises)
Genres: non-fiction (excerpts from essays, chronicles, journalism); fiction (short stories, excerpts from
novels), non-narrative and experimental texts (including poetry; visual elements). Non-scientific articles.

Source language: any language of countries participating in our Action other than English (see list here: https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18126/#tabs+Name:Management%20Committee )

Length ca. 2000 words (not applicable to poetry) - max. 2500 words
Period 21st Century (2000-).

Please choose only texts that have previously not been translated into English.

Submit any quesitons you might have to  writingurbanplaces@gmail.com

Contact Info: 

For any questions, please contact the editors of the planned publications: Giuseppe Resta, Michael G. Kelly, Jorge Mejia Hernandez, Klaske Havik and Sonja Novak at writingurbanplaces@gmail.com