Translations and Transformations: China, Modernity and Cultural Transmission

1 May 2008 - 3 May 2008

Kaetsu Centre, New Hall

Deadline for Registration: 29 April 2008 

Convenor: Professor Mary Jacobus (University of Cambridge)

This event is part of the AHRC-funded Network, Translations and Transformations: China, Modernity and Cultural Transmission. Based at CRASSH the network focuses on the oppositions and relations through which Chinese modernity has been shaped and imagined. An age of globalisation makes it more than ever urgent to ask: what processes of transmission mediate literary and cultural exchanges between China and the West? China's complex interactions with its others are key to understanding its relation to modernity. Defining the modern, as Lydia Liu observes, is not only a question of periodisation but also of translatability: 'The problem of translation has become increasingly central to critical reflections on modernity... The fact that one can speak about a varied range of modernities suggests an extraordinary faith in the translatability of modernity and its universal ethos.' (Translingual Practice,1995).

Lydia Liu's 'translingual practice' refers to the translation from one culture into the practice of another: to cultural as well as linguistic translation. At the heart of the problem are specific acts, sites, and theories of translation; relationships between universal and particular; and the limits or possibilities of cultural commensurability. Whether literal translation or at the level of language and culture, or involving concepts, technologies and techniques, the status of translation is at stake in defining the field of Chinese modernism and modernity. The processes of transmission include literary and visual translation, as well as contextualisation and reception, but they also raise issues of translatability in the broadest sense. The Conference will involve scholars of literary and cultural studies in China and the West, including translation theorists, critical theorists, and theorists of visual culture and film.



Thursday 1 May



Registration with coffee/tea


Welcome from Sir Christopher Hum (Master of Gonville & Caius College, formerly HM Ambassador to China)

Welcome from Professor Hans Van de Ven (Chairman of the  Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)


Plenary Address

Translation as Cultural Mediation
Susan Bassnet (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Warwick University)


Reception and Finger Buffet


Friday 2 May



Translating Modernism
Chair: Haun Saussy

Eric Hayot (Penn State University)
The Example-Effect 

Wang Ning (Tsinghua University)
Modernity, Translated Literature and the Formation of Modern
Chinese Literary Tradition

Christopher Bush (Northwestern University)
China, for example . . .  : Talking about China outside of East Asia




Translating Modernism II
Chair: Susan Daruvala

Christopher Rosenmeier (University of Cambridge)
Turning Against Realism: Tradition and Exoticism in the Popular Fiction of the 1940s

Jing Tsu (Yale University)
Bilingual Loyalty: Zhang Ailing, Ha Jin, and the Failure to Address

Cao Li (Tsinghua University)
Translating Literature: The Cambridge Critics and Their Significance in China




Translating Theory
Chair: Mary Jacobus 

Brett de Bary (Cornell University)
Theorizing Translation in Post-Structuralist and Post-Colonial Contexts

Stephanie Tsai (Tamkang University)
Translating the Unthinkable - Blanchot in Chinese

James St. André (University of Manchester)
Travelling Translation Theory




Translation and Change
Chair: Cao Li 

Cosima Bruno (SOAS)
Translating the Visual in Contemporary Chinese Poetry

Chen Yongguo (Tsinghua University)
The Politics of Minor Languages, Or, the Logic of Creation in the Age of
Deterritorialization of Language

Sun Yifeng (Lingnan University)
Translation, Transculturality and Transformational China

8.30 - 9.45 (in Buckingham Lecture Theatre)

Illustrated Discussion

Chris Berry (Goldsmiths, University of London)Real to Reel: China's New Documentary Movement as a Translingual  Practice



Saturday 3 May



Translating Culture I
Chair: Christopher Bush

Yizhong Ning (Beijing Language and Culture)
The Welcome Other: translation and cultural transplanting

Steven Yao (Hamilton College)
'Cathay’ and the languages of modernism

Timothy Billings (Middlebury College)
Victor Segalen’s Sigillary Sinography: the Seal of Authority and the Spell of Alterity




Translating the Western Canon
Chair: Hans van de Ven

Liu Dong (Peking University)
The first Chinese translation of Mill’s On Liberty

Wang Hui (Tsinghua University)
Scientific World View, Cultural Debates and the Reclassification of Knowledge in Twentieth Century China

Lu Jiande (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences):
For Continuity: Lin Shu and the New Literature Movement



13.30 - 15.30

Translating Modernity
Chair: Brett de Bary 

Haun Saussy (Yale University)
Translation and Transcription: Media Creoles and the Invention of the Delufeng

Red Chan (University of Warwick)
The Cult of the Amateur: Internet and Re-configuration of Cross-Cultural Transfer

C.J. Wan-Ling Wee (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
We Asians”?: Modernity, Visual-Art Exhibitions, and East Asia

Julia Lovell (Birkbeck College)
Modern Chinese Literature in the Global Canon – the Quest for Recognition





Round Table Discussion: Directions for the Future
Chair: Mary Jacobus


Wang Ning, Haun Saussy, Hans van de Ven 




17.30 Fitzwilliam Museum

Exhibition, short talk and closing reception at Fitzwilliam Museum