Guest Editors: Michela Baldo (University of Hull)
Jonathan Evans (University of Portsmouth)
Ting Guo (University of Exeter)
Special issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies
The Journal of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association
This special issue will focus on the role that translation plays in global LGBT+/Queer activism. It will analyze the practices of translation as part of activism within lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual and/or allied movements, that is social movements that advocate for LGBT+ people’s rights, but it will also explore translation as part of queer activism, which emerged out of the AIDS campaigns of groups such as ACT UP and Queer Nation in the late eighties and early nineties in USA. Rather than mobilizing for the extension of legal rights to sexual minorities, queer activism has sought to undermine the reproduction of heterosexual social norms, using the concept of queer to destabilize dominant models of knowledge and power (Baer and Kaindl 2017). More specifically, queer activism, since its inception, has sought to fight the limitations perceived in the traditional identity politics of LGBT+ groups. While the queer activism of the early nineties focused more on the violence against sexual minorities, later strands of queer activism that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s developed close links with the alter-globalization movement (Shepard and Hayduk 2002), put more emphasis on antiauthoritarian, anti-capitalist practices and transnationalism (Brown 2015), and on the concept of the body, against the theoretical excesses of the first-wave white Anglo queer theory (Espineira and Bourcier 2016).
Despite the recent interest in studies of translation and activism (Baker 2006, 2015; Tymoczko 2007, 2010), testified by the coinage of the expression “activist turn” in translation studies (Wolf 2012), and the surging interest in studies on queer aspects of translation, attested by recent edited collections (Spurlin 2014; Gramling and Dutta 2016; Epstein and Gillett 2017; Baer and Kaindl 2017), queer activist translation practice is an area which remains understudied in translation and interpreting studies. While the term activist remains ‘ill-defined’ (Baker 2018: 453), we understand it here as an activity that aims for political or social change, and activist translation as translation that is undertaken as part of such an activity. Although some activist translations might be initiated by isolated individuals, activist translators are usually networked with other translators and activists in common enterprises (Tymoczko 2010), for example in the fight against war, racism, transphobia, sexism, gender violence, capitalism, environmental pollution, etc. Consequently, not all translation of queer texts or materials is activist: our focus is on translation as (part of) a political or social intervention aimed at causing change.
This issue will address the gap between research on activism in translation and queer practices of translation. It will concentrate on both how the notion of translation can inform the analysis of transnational LGBT+/Queer activism and also on how theorizations of queer can enrich studies of activist translation. We would like to ask how the idea of ‘queerness’, being a North American and European construct, has been translated in other activist scenarios outside of these geographical areas (Domínguez Ruvalcaba 2016). By investigating global approaches to the intersections between queer, translation and activism, we expect the special issue to deepen understandings of the relationships between these issues and global flows of culture, theory and science. By taking into account the inherent geopolitical inequalities that impact on the practice of translation, as well as queer of color critique, queer diasporas and queer migration studies (Muñoz 1999; Ferguson 2003; Gopinath 2005; Luibhéid 2008) and transgender studies, we are interested in exploring the involvement of queer activism with migrations, neoliberalism, citizenship and nationality. One line of enquire could be how activist translation of LGBT+/Queer materials chooses what areas to focus on (gay men, cis lesbians, white queer middle class culture, etc.) or exclude, and how these choices then affect understandings of LGBT+/Queer in the host culture.
We are also interested in exploring what insights LGBT+/Queer activism’s focus on sexuality can add to existing studies of translation and activism. More specifically we argue that issues explored in translation and activism such as ideology, horizontality, non-hierarchy, collaboration and pluralism might not be sufficient to account for LGBT+/Queer scenarios and that we need to also draw on the notions of desire, precarity and affect, among others. These notions, investigated by queer theory (Berlant 2011, Ahmed 2004), by some of the studies of queer translation abovementioned (Gramling and Dutta 2016; Baer and Kaindl 2017) and especially by queer transfeminism, that is feminism informed by transgender politics (Bettcher and Stryker 2016), can offer a more nuanced account of how these activist collectives and individuals operate. Borrowing Basile’s (2017) concept of queer translation as the intimate and vulnerable encounter between languages (skins, surfaces) which exposes their interdependence, we are interested in exploring, for example, how this concept could be applicable to queer transfeminist activism or other intersectional forms of LGBT+/queer activism.
Our focus in this issue is not only the themes translated by LGBT+/queer activist groups and individuals but also questions of how translation is understood, performed and disseminated. We put emphasis on how “queerness” affects translation epistemologies, that is what counts as translation, how it affects translation methodologies, and how it affects translation reception or how translation impacts on society at large. Special emphasis will be given thus to the performative aspect of activist translation: its capacity to produce transformation.
For this issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS), the guest editors invite contributions that address diverse types and locations of LGBT+/queer translational activism. We welcome papers on literary translation (including prose and poetry), specialized translation, interpreting, audiovisual translation or translation of theatre/performances. Topics of interest include but not limited to the following lines of research:
1. Fansubbing or fandubbing and LGBT+/Queer activism
2. Textual and paratextual strategies in LGBT+/Queer activist translation
3. The dissemination of translations by LGBT+/Queer activist translators
4. LGBT+/Queer activist translation and performativity
5. LGBT+/Queer activist translation and neoliberalism
6. Transfeminism and activist translation
7. Queer of color critique and activist translation
8. Queer migration and activist translation
9. Queer diasporas and activist translation
10. The translation of scientific studies of sexuality by LGBT+/Queer activists
11. The subtitling and dubbing of LGBT+/Queer film festivals and its relation to activism
12. Sociological analysis of LGBT+/ Queer activist groups of translators/interpreters
13. LGBT+/Queer activism and affect
14. LGBT+/Queer activism and desire
15. How translation practices can gender or otherwise circumscribe notions of queerness or LGBT+ identity
16. Theorizing queer activist translation
Authors interested in contributing to this special thematic issue should submit an abstract (400–500 words) to the three guest editors:
Please include a brief bionote about the author(s) and their university affiliation(s) in a separate file.
Authors of abstracts that are accepted for consideration will be invited to submit a full manuscript that is between 5000 and 6500 words in length, exclusive of bibliography. Every manuscript will be submitted to double-blind peer review.
Timeline for Authors
Abstracts (400-500 words) due to guest editors 1 February 2019
Decisions on abstracts 1 March 2019
Submission of full manuscripts 1 September 2019
Decisions to authors 1 February 2020
Final version of paper due (based on reviews) 1 August 2020
Final versions of papers to journal from guest editors 1 October 2020
Publication of special issue Summer 2021
Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York and London: Routledge.
Baer, Brian and Klaus Kaindl. eds. 2017. Queering Translation, Translating the Queer. Theory, Practice, Activism. New York and London: Routledge.
Baker, Mona. 2006. Translation and Conflict. New York and London: Routledge.
—————. ed. 2015. Translating Dissent: Voices From and With the Egyptian Revolution. New York and London: Routledge.
—————. 2018. “Audiovisual translation and activism.” In Luis Pérez-González (ed) The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation, 453-467. Abingdon: Routledge.
Basile, Elena. 2017. “A Scene of Intimate Entanglements, or, Reckoning with the ‘Fuck’ of Translation.” In Brian James Baer and Klau Kaindl (eds) Queering Translation, Translating the Queer, 26-37. New York and London: Routledge.
Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press.
Bettcher Talia and Susan Stryker. eds. 2016. Trans/Feminisms. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3 (1-2).
Brown, Gavin. 2015. “Queer Movement.” In David Paternotte and Manon Tremblay (eds) Ashgate research companion in Lesbian and Gay Activism, 73-88. London and New York: Routledge.
Domínguez Ruvalcaba, Héctor. 2016. Translating the Queer: Body Politics and Transnational Conversations. London: Zed.
Epstein, B. J. and Robert Gillett. eds. 2017. Queer in Translation. New York and London. Routledge.
Espineira, Karine and Marie-Hélène/Sam Bourcier. 2016. “Transfeminism. Something Else. Somewhere Else.” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 3(1–2): 84- 94.
Ferguson, Roderick A. 2003. Aberrations in Black: Toward a queer of color critique.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Gopinath, Gayatri. 2005. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press
Gramling, David and Aniruddha Dutta. eds. 2016. Translating Transgender. Special issue of TSQ Transgender Studies Quarterly, 3 (3-4).
Luibhéid, Eithne. ed. 2008. Queer/Migration. Special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14 (3-4).
Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Pérez-González, Luís. 2014. Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues. New York and London: Routledge.
Shepard, Benjamin and Ron Hayduk. eds. 2002. From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban protest and community building in the era of globalization. London: Verso.
Spurlin, William J. ed. 2014. The Gender and Queer Politics of Translation: Literary, Historical, and Cultural Approaches. Special issue of Comparative Literature Studies 51.2.
Tymoczko, Maria. 2007. Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.
————–. ed. 2010. Translation, Resistance, Activism. Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press.
Wolf, Michaela. 2012. ‘The sociology of translation and its “activist turn”. Translation and Interpreting Studies 7(2): 129-143.