Special Issue: Comparative Literature Studies

‘Decentering Global Literary History: The Role of Translation and Cultural Relations in ‘PeripheralLiteratures’

Guest Editors: Diana Roig-Sanz, Elisabet Carbó-Catalan, Ana Kvirikashvili (IN3- Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

CfP_Decentering Global Literary History

The ‘transnational turn’ in literary studies has led to a significant rise in critical interest in the role of translation, but the enormous scope and scale of the topic, combined with the very focused linguistic and literary expertise required for the study of translation, allowed for very few comparative studies. This shortage is more evident when it comes to languages referred to as ‘small’, ‘minor’, ‘peripheral’, ‘marginal’ or ‘less translated’; although widely discussed (Deleuze & Guattari 1975; Heilbron 1999; Branchadell & West 2005; Lionnet & Shih 2005), these terms remain controversial. Comparative literature, world literary studies, and translation studies have generally focused on ‘central’ languages or, at best, on the relationships between ‘central’ and ‘peripheral’ literatures (Cronin 1999; 2003), but there is still a lot of research to be done with regard to interperipheral literary exchanges (Heilbron & Sapiro 2002). ‘Peripheral’ literatures have been mostly overlooked from a global perspective and it has been assumed that they play a marginal role in the global literary system. Also, there is little theoretical work on the specificities of these cases, as well as the similarities and differences among them.

Within this framework, this special issue responds to a double demand: on the one hand, it undertakes the task of discussing these notions (‘peripheral’, ‘minor’,’small’, ‘less-translated’, ‘marginal’, ‘dominated’) within an historical perspective, providing a thorough intervention in the state of the art that includes alternative terms such as ‘significant geographies’ (Laachir, Marzagora & Orsini 2018a, 2018b), ‘writing between-worlds’ (Ette 2016) or ‘translation and publishing zones’ (Roig Sanz & Coll Vinent 2020). On the other hand, it aims at proposing different case studies which are related to the translation, circulation and institutionalization of small/minor/peripheral/marginal and less translated literatures that address the challenge of analysing these cases from a global and network approach.

Thus, the issue aims at providing a pool of case studies that will enrich the discussion on processes such as intranslation and extranslation, but also other strategies to establish cultural and para-diplomatic relations (Dulphy et al. 2010), thus stressing the relevance of global power struggles for cultural legitimization and the deep entanglements between translation, cultural relations and the autonomization of the literary field (Bourdieu 1992). In that respect, we advance the hypothesis that ‘peripheral’ literatures are not only relevant in their own right, but also from a broader perspective and in their relations to the wider world.

Contributors are invited to work on case studies that can discuss fundamental issues such as translation and national building, self-translation and indirect translation in ‘peripheral’/minor/small/less translated literatures, institutionalization and the role of academia in the circulation of ‘peripheral’ literatures, cultural relations and cultural projection, consecration institutions (e.g. prices and book fairs), alternative practices to get the world market for translation, cultural policies and programmes for translation, cultural mediators and formal and informal networks, or the impact of the original from the local/national literary system/field to the transnational literary field. Within this framework, we encourage contributors to unearth unforeseen layers, relations, patterns and scales between the so-called ‘peripheral’ literatures and to reflect on new terms helping to better acknowledge new emerging relations and connections that do not pass through assumed ‘centers’, as well as to identify unknown cultural mediators (Roig Sanz and Meylaerts 2018) for inter-peripheral literary exchanges and to analyse their specificities, trajectories and habitus. We are particularly interested in less-known cases from the so-called ‘Global South’. In that respect, proposals analysing inter-peripheral relations for Indian and Pakistani literatures, East and South Asia, Brazil, African literatures, or Australian or Canadian literatures written in other languages than English or French are especially welcome.

Submission protocol and deadline: The guest editors invite to submit 350-word abstracts along with a short bio-note by 15 December 2020. Please send to dsanzr@uoc.edu; akvirikashvili@uoc.edu, and ecarboc@uoc.edu. Full papers (8,000 words) due to 22 January 2022.

written by Alice Duhan
4 November, 2020