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CfP: Translating Babel. Religion and Translation in the Early Modern Period

The Conference Translating Babel: Religion and Translation in the Early Modern Period will take place from 20-22 July 2017 at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt.

All of the major cultural exchanges in history required translation – the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment are obvious examples. Yet Translation Studies have been little interested in history and most historians still treat translation as an invisible given, as
if a translated text were “the same” as the original. Recently, scholars such as Peter Burke and R. Po-chia Hsia have urged increased study of the role of translation in cultural encounters in the Early Modern period. They point in particular to the need for studies on religious translation, since translators do not just translate linguistic items but religion itself.

A conference at the Research Centre Gotha seeks to answer this call by focusing on the translations, transformations and adaptations of religious texts across cultural and national boundaries in the Early Modern period. What negotiations and compromises did translators make? What did they translate and what did they omit? How did they transform meaning through interventions, abridgements, or amplifications? Did these transformations amount to misunderstandings or could they be perceived as enrichments? How did translators make material familiar or attractive for recipients? How did they “translate” material into visual art or into other contexts, such as natural philosophy? Did translations result in new practices or rituals? Finally, why were certain texts or ideas interesting to a certain
culture or sub-culture at a given time?

The conference language will be English and an English-language publication is planned to document the proceedings. Lodging will be covered for participants and an honorary contract will defray transportation costs. Proposals (no more than 600 words) should be sent to the organizer Lucinda Martin before 09 May 2017.

Complete Call

Summer Programme 2017