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Feeling Translation

Feeling Translation

Research project
Active research
Project owner
HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design

Short description

Feeling Translation is a research project where I use translation as conceptual framework, pedagogical instrument, and literary practice in an effort to analyze and stage what I perceive to be the translator’s deeply subjective, embodied, and political positions. This project asks how the operations of translation might be conceptualized and implemented in ways that are not reducible to the arguably conventional and relatively unproblematized paradigm that posits translation to be a transfer of meaning, a movement from source to target.

I am interested in translation as a method for rupture and, in that rupture, inquiry. How can an insurgent, speculative, or “failed” translation talk back to the source text, its conditions of production, as well as the reader of both – and what new knowledge is produced in that process? Furthermore, what raciolinguistic orders – that is, assumptions concerning race, language, and body – are tacitly or explicitly codified in understandings of translation, and how might a speculative and/or embodied translation practice be a fruitful mode of inquiry into the aesthetics and politics of those assumptions?

Through experimental translation workshops, literary translation projects, and cross-genre textual investigations, I seek to mobilize my own and others’ embodied knowledge and enact a translation practice deploying a poetics of what the poet Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge terms “data of embodiment.” Through these multiple research strands, my goal is to generate methods, texts, and social forms where the subjectivity of translation is activated and mined for aesthetic, pedagogical, and sociopolitical inquiry.

Methodologically, the project draws upon histories, strategies, and forms located within, or expanded through, US ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, literary theory, and education theory. Committed to the expanded fields of both the autoethnographic and the docupoetic, this project is oriented toward scholar-poets including Tyehimba Jess, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Don Mee Choi, and Dawn Lundy Martin.