The Comparative Literature GSO is proud to co-present tonight’s speaker series with the Human Rights Institute at Binghamton University. Three indigenous scholar-artists — Noel Altaha, Alex Jimerson, and Reynaldo Morales — will join us for a dialogue entitled Human Rights, Indigenous Rights: Decolonizing the Americas. The event will be hosted by Birgit Brander Rasmussen of the English Department, and co-presented by the COLI GSO.
Refreshments and food will be served. The event begins at 6pm in the IASH Conference room (next to the Library Tower elevators)
Join us Wednesday April 18 at 5pm in Fine Arts room 218 for Dr. Giovanna Montenegro’s talk, “The German Conquest of Venezuela and Cultural Memory: Maps, Genealogy and Monuments,” as part of VizCult, the Dean’s Speaker Series in Visual Culture.
Abstract: The Welsers, along with the Fuggers, were powerful bankers in the Free Imperial City of Augsburg in the sixteenth century. Both became involved in early trade and commerce projects in the East and West Indies.They both helped Charles I of Spain become Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V) and would extend extensive credit to him and the Spanish royal coffers. In 1528, however, it was Welser agents that signed a contract with the Spanish crown for the Welsers to govern the Province of Venezuela on the northern coast of South America. The short-lived German governance lasted only until 1556 and was plagued by strife between Spaniards and Germans; often Spanish administrators suspected their German governors to be followers of Martin Luther’s Reformation. In this talk, I look at how the short period of governance was remembered in early-modern European visual culture. From manuscript atlases and printed maps, to hand-colored printed genealogical trees of the Welsers, the Venezuela possession became part of the Welser family legacy and of Germany’s cultural memory of colonization.
Giovanna Montenegro is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish.
The VizCult series is organized by the Department of Art History. More information about their series can be found on their department blog.
This Spring, Badredinne presented a paper entitled “Writing Queer Desire in Abdallah Taia, Rachid O, and Hisham Tahir’s novels” in the conference, “Queer Justice: Struggles and Strategies” at Ohio University.
In the last two decades, a pioneering wave of openly gay Maghrebian novelists has emerged depicting the struggles of assuming an exclusively “gay identity;” in Arab-Muslim societies. Writers like Abdellah Tai, Rachid O and Hicham Tahir engaged in a literary project aiming at breaking the intolerably irritating silence surrounding homosexuality in the Maghreb. Although homosexuality is palpably present in Arab-Muslim societies of the Maghreb, there is nonetheless an intolerance in regards with their open discussion. Even on a purely discursive level, taboo remains an insurmountable hurdle for many gay individuals. Nevertheless, the characters of Taia, O and Tahir’s novels transgress the aforementioned socio- religious restrictions by suggesting a discourse that seeks to reconcile their queer desires and their spiritual beliefs. In this discussion, I will highlight the difficulty that the narrator-protagonists of the three writers experience in assuming their sexuality in an interstitial space between a cherished yet homophobic Maghreb and a more liberal but hostile French milieu. I will also explore the stakes surrounding the use of French by the Maghrebian writers who instead of using Arabic, opt to use another language that does not denigrate their queer sexuality and construct it in pejorative terms. In this study, I will draw on the theoretical postulations of Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lise Gauvin and Svetlana Boym who reflected on the transnational queer identity construction and its rapport with space and language.
Badreddine started translating a manuscript of Tunisian poet Moncef Mezgheni to English.
Anastasiya received a full tuition waiver to attend the Uriel Weinreich Yiddish Summer Program and work in the archives of the YIVO Institute in New York City from June 27 until August 5, 2016.
Anastasiya has also presented her work at a number of conferences this Spring.
1-“Born Translated or at Home in the Unhomely: Linguistic Imaginations of Bruno Schulz and Yoko Tawada” at theBinghamton University German Studies Colloquium 2016: Dis-placements, Refuges and Other Cultural Belongings at the panel “Transnational Tawada” organized and moderated by Prof. Gisela Brinker-Gabler. The colloquium took place on April 15-16, 2016.
This paper examines the transnational and polylingual poetics of Schulz, a Polish-Jewish-Modernist (often referred to as the “Polish Kafka”) from eastern Galicia (now the western Ukraine). Schulz dwelt in languages both his and not entirely his own. In his Polish writings we read the lost mama-loshn of Yiddish as well as German and Ukrainian influences. Tawada, a contemporary German-Japanese writer, detached herself from Japan, but not entirely from Japanese, when she moved to Germany. With her oeuvre in both German and Japanese she defamiliarizes what it means to write in a “foreign” language and in one’s “mother tongue.” Through the comparison of strategies each author uses to make multilingualism visible and to trouble conventional notions of home as they explore travel, myth and bodily metamorphosis, I will identify key differences in the authors’ respective linguistic, historical and political contexts for writing. I will example the notion of the uncanny (das Unheimliche) in its broader sense as well as in its psychoanalytic conception and draw on the work of Yasemin Yildiz to consider what it means to be at home in language(s). To echo the work of Rebecca Walkowitz, this paper will ponder what it means for texts to be born translated.
2- “Translating Debora Vogel’s high Modernist collection of Prose Montage Acacias Bloom” at the University of Amherst Massachussets Graduate Student Translation Studies Conference, taking place April 23-24, 2016.
Debora Vogel, a Yiddish high modernist poet, philosopher and critic, lived in the interwar Poland and perished in Lvov ghetto during one of the so-called Nazi actions. Her tragic fate and the fact that she chose Yiddish as a mode for her highly innovative expression were some of the factors that contributed to her remaining largely unknown, especially for the English-speaking audiences. A native speaker of Polish, she was fluent in German and Hebrew, writing her early work in these languages. She chose to learn Yiddish as an adult, and published her two collections of poetry Day Figures (1930) and Mannequins (1934) in her non-native language (a politically and an aesthetically motivated choice), challenging the frameworks of cultural, ethnic and linguistic belonging. In 1935 she published a volume of her prose montage Acacias Bloom in Yiddish, with the same collection appearing in print in Polish translation a year later. An interesting example of self-translation akin to the bilingual operations of writers such as Nabokov and Beckett, the two versions of the book are not identical, with different sequences of chapters and other formal differences. The first post-war edition of this work in Polish appeared in 2005 and it takes into account the two first editions while supplementing them with the unpublished additional montages in Yiddish that were recovered from the archives.
The present undertaking by the author of this abstract is to translate Acacias Bloom into English, taking into account the history of the book, the skopos (its reception in Europe at the time with its contemporary reception in Europe and projected readership in the English-speaking world), as well as examining translation theories in regards to this specific translation practice. Besides the three mentioned editions of the book, this current translation is informed by the two recent anthologies of Vogel’s work in translation that were published in Germany and Ukraine, both in 2015, and also the writer’s own critical essays reflective of her principles that discuss her usage of geometric idiom (borrowed from the movements in visual arts, such as Cubism and Constructivism), repetition (similar to repetition in Gertrude Stein’s work), and “white words/grey words”(reminiscent of the considerations of Imagists and Vorticists), which all pose challenges for the translation process.
The issues that I have encountered in this translation process and which are present in this 8-page excerpt are determining the optimal syntax (preserving some aspects of syntax from the original that is useful for the rhythm and that creates stylistic devices, such as parallelism), translating repetition (some qualifiers, such as “sticky” are translated a few different ways, depending on the noun and the most fitting synonym for the collocation), paraphrasing whenever necessary. Vogel has a certain vocabulary, for which I want to create a glossary, with set collocations that are present both in her prose work and in her poetry. One example would be “squandered happiness”, which Debora Vogel repeats multiple times. Another challenge is thinking about translation concepts that are put in brackets, such as “life”, when the author tries to distance herself from the idea or points to a clichéd usage of the concept, as well as for other reasons.