ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

20 – Self-translation, translating the self: Multilingual writers in South Asia

In the South Asian multilingual context, many writers have lived and worked in between languages. In view of the complex power dynamics between languages, the panel proposes to investigate self-translations and multilingualism under a multiplicity of facets, ranging from language politics and publishing decisions to dialogue with the self in multiple languages.

Convenors

Vuille Rosine-Alice - University of Lausanne, Faculté des lettres / Section de langues et civilisations slaves et de l'Asie du Sud, Lausanne, Switzerland
Mandhwani Aakriti - Shiv Nadar University, Department of English, Greater Noida, India

Long Abstract

In the South Asian multilingual context, many writers have lived and worked in between languages. In view of the complex power dynamics between languages, the panel proposes to investigate self-translations and multilingualism under a multiplicity of facets, ranging from language politics and publishing decisions to dialogue with the self in multiple languages. How do we think about authors active in multiple languages? How and under what circumstances do writers translate their own works? Do they trans-create and adapt to a new audience or even “censor” their first text? How do the texts relate to each other in the context of power relations between languages? In an extremely multilingual world like South Asia, how does a writer’s own command over several languages (and/or dialects) inform her writing? If the purpose of translation is to facilitate dissemination, what sense do we make of writers choosing to re-write in the dominant language in order to further facilitate this translational logic? Additionally, while much research has focused on canonical writers (for instance Premchand), we need to contextualise self-translation with regard to the market and publishing decisions. In other words, how do we think about self-translation, often by non-canonical authors, in popular print culture? Concurrently, how do we imagine the act of self-translation in the publishing logic of world literature?

We invite papers examining a variety of genres such as fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, among others. We are particularly interested in the various publics of translation (who writes/speaks for and to whom) within language power dynamics, circumstances of self-translation, and the publishing logic within which they operate.