The Craft of Writing
R1B - 001 | CCN: 77818
The Rhetoric of Translation: Colonial Violence and Ethical Relationality
Instructor: Evyn Lê Espiritu and Ryan Rhadigan
Date / Time: MW 4-530P, 122 WHEELER
In The Poetics of Imperialism, literary scholar Eric Cheyfitz argues that “translation was, and still is, the central act of European colonization and imperialism in the Americas.” Translation—understood as an ongoing process of transfer across not only linguistic difference but also temporal, spatial, material, and cultural boundaries—is always located within relations of power. As such, it is central to strategies of conquest and domination. However, translation also generates mutually transformative communication and intercultural understanding. In this course we will explore translation as both a mechanism of colonial violence as well as a foundation for ethical relationality. We will read texts from a variety of disciplines, probing the limits and possibilities of translation across time, space, medium, and culture. Authors include Jacques Derrida, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Édouard Glissant, and Walter Benjamin.