[Msa-discuss] CFP 10/1 deadline: M/m Print-Plus, "Translation &/as Disconnection in Modernist Literary History"

Joshua L. Miller joshualm at umich.edu
Mon Sep 12 23:26:05 EDT 2016

Dear colleagues,

We seek submissions for a prospective peer-reviewed cluster of 6-8 brief
(3000 word) position papers for Modernism/modernity’s Print-Plus platform
on the topic of translation and/as disconnection in modernist literary
history. Translation was central to the formation and uneven expansion of
the cultural field of modernism, and it has become vital to conceptions of
global modernisms, but here, we are posing a different set of questions:
how did translational concepts and practices undermine, shrink, critique,
and disconnect modernism? When and where did translation illuminate or even
create gaps, boundaries, missed opportunities, and irreconcilable conflicts
as it operated beyond—or even opposed to—the aims of networked modernism?
What new understandings of modernism appear when we treat translation as a
problem, an unstable, fragmenting, and potentially disabling practice,
rather than as a utopian, unidirectional, or unilateral force of

By asking such questions, we invite fresh approaches that dig beneath some
longstanding assumptions—i.e., do alternative views of modernism emerge if
we assume neither the preexisting coherence of its tenets/aesthetics nor
the beneficial, productive effects of translation? How might translation
critically reassess or even push back against the “worlding” of modernist
studies? Langston Hughes, for example, was a crucial translator of Hispano-
and Francophone authors such as Federico García Lorca, Nicolás Guillén,
and Jacques Roumain. His translations certainly expanded the racialized and
politicized circuits in which he was an intermediary figure. But he also
translated—and never published—several baldly racist, anti-African poems
during the Spanish Civil War, thereby participating in a longstanding,
fracturing, and ugly demonology of Berber North Africans (“Moors”) as a
distinctly inferior black people who had no claims to diasporic solidarity.
Familiar figures like Pound, Eliot, and Joyce all produced translations
that failed in multiple ways, too: what if we approach these translations
as disconnections, texts that created limits and insurmountable cultural
barriers despite (or because of) their desires to flatten or overrun them?

These questions and complications lead to broader methodological issues
that we hope to see addressed: how and why does modernism—in its older,
well-known guises and in its recent incarnations—look different when we
consider its formations in and through translation in non- Western
countries, for instance, where translations of Eliot and Pound appeared for
the first time alongside first translations of Shakespeare, Tagore, and
Twain? How did translations of modernist texts figure into the cultural
politics of the Korean resistance to Japanese occupation in the early
twentieth century? How might translational practices from the Global South
imply different models of modernism that alternately clash, compete, or
blend with those proposed primarily by Euro-American scholars? How does
translation collapse temporalities and disorganize literary histories into
which modernism might or might not fit? How might new media theory or
adaptation studies suggest new perspectives on print cultures and book
history, and how did translational ruptures affect the history of early
cinema? And if alternative modernisms do not cohere or if they veer toward
trajectories that scholarship has generally not considered, what
implications might this have for scholarship on regional, hemispheric,
global, postcolonial or geo-modernisms?

Please submit abstracts of 500 words by *October 1, 2016* to Joshua Miller (
joshualm at umich.edu) and Gayle Rogers (grogers at pitt.edu). Proposals will be
reviewed and decisions made by October 15, with the essays themselves due
by March 31, 2017.

Joshua L. Miller
Associate Professor
Dept. of English Language & Literature
University of Michigan
3187 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

tel. 734 764 5156
fax 734 763 3128
joshualm at umich.ed <joshualm at umich.edu>u <joshualm at umich.edu>

Editor, The Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel
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