CONFERENCE : Found in Translation: Textual Explorations of Australia and the World
An international interdisciplinary conference to be held at the Monash Prato Centre (near Florence)
21-25 September 2010
hosted by the National Centre for Australian Studies, in association with the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University.
Far from being considered as a linguistic activity only, translation is increasingly seen as bridging, and sometimes broadening, gaps between different cultures. There is widespread recognition that translation modifies, or preserves, the perception of the other. Hence, translating as an activity and translation as the result of this activity are inseparable from the concept of culture.
Locating Australian literature and culture in the global context connotes reconfiguring Australia’s relationship with other literatures and cultures. The unique conditions of Australia, including the indigenous cultural traditions, the colonial experience, and the experiences of multiple migrations into and out of the country, illustrate the need for a global viewpoint in approaching Australian literature, culture and identities, particularly with regard to a European setting that itself appears increasingly multicultural.
This conference aims to consider and assess the socio-cultural value of translation not only as an interlinguistic process but also as intersemiotic activity across cultures and languages and also historically.
Studying perceptions of Australia through translation opens up new areas of research that engage with both ‘internal’ and ‘external’ constructions of cultural identity. Translation and reception of literary works involve a process of acculturation in which literary meanings, values and assumptions are exchanged and adjusted. While discussing critical issues concerning the global reception of Australian literature in translation, we will re-evaluate the economy of individuality and universality in the business of translation and the global literary market.
A key theme of the conference will be translation as a form of mediation facilitating the global exchange of cultural production.
It is envisaged that papers will examine areas where matters of linguistic translation come into contact with questions of community and cultural politics, each applying and exploring the notion of cultural translation in different senses and contexts - from, for example, the translation of texts across various locations of transnational popular culture to those of communities in migration.
Another focus will be the mediation and hybridisation of cultural texts from Europe, Asia and elsewhere within Australia to form new identities as part of both colonial and post colonial experiences. The conference aims to provide a forum that will enable scholars and students across fields such as translation studies, cultural studies, Australian and Indigenous studies and history, to share their diverse experiences. It will encourage the elaboration of proposals regarding the dissemination of national, local and transnational narratives to international audiences through translation, and will explore a range of materials, including literary texts, indigenous cultures, the built environment, new media and film. The theme of the conference will embrace such topics as transnational media, globalisation, cultural and audiovisual translation, the legacy of empire and
colonialism for indigenous and migrant identities, and intercultural relations. Related thematic areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
• the role of literary translation in challenging or reinforcing cultural difference
• transnational media and their role in facilitating, or discouraging, intercultural understanding
• transnational and regional identities and their relationship to culture and processes of translation
• the role of translation in disseminating Australian indigenous and settler literature and cultural production in the world and back to Australia
• the insights that can be found in the process of thinking critically about practices of translation in research
• the role of translation in mediating the exchange of knowledge across cultural and linguistic divides
• translating the differences between subcultural, religious, indigenous, ethnic, national and transnational belonging.
• the problem of postcolonial cultural translation: how do former colonies and former imperial centres understand each other?
• translation between generations: nostalgia , memory and commemoration
Papers that address any aspect of the conference theme are invited.
Please submit abstracts of no more than 200 words and short bio of no more than 70 words in length via the website at
The absolute deadline for submission of abstracts for consideration by the Programme Committee is Friday 28 May 2010. Those accepted will be notified by mid-June.
Following the conference, papers will be considered for a range of refereed publications.