This looks like a really fascinating conference:
Cultural mediators in Europe 1750-1950
The research groups "Translation and intercultural transfer" and
"Cultural History since 1750" of the KU Leuven organise an international
colloquium on "Cultural mediators in Europe 1750-1950", June 5-7 2014
in Leuven, Belgium.
This conference wants to advance understanding of the complex yet
largely unknown cultural transfer activities that helped shaping
international, national and urban cultures during the last two centuries
in Europe. A privileged way to gain insight in these transfer
activities is to focus on the agents, i.e. the cultural mediators who
We want to focus specifically on those cultural mediators who develop a
broad range of partly overlapping transfer activities through different
cultural fields (literature, painting, music, theatre…), different
languages and geo-cultural frontiers.
• They are multilingual writers and publishers, multilingual literary
and art critics who promote specific artistic subsets as typically
national, international or regional; they are art dealers who organize
(inter)national art exhibitions; they are self-translators or
translators who translate, adapt, plagiarise, summarize, censor,
manipulate, … works of other language communities. Recent studies
illustrate how mediators freely combine several of these transfer
techniques even within one and the same work.
• They are active in a variety of more or less institutionalised
intercultural and inter-artistic networks (editing boards of magazines
and periodicals, salons, literary and artistic associations, art and
music academies, artists' workshops, reading circles etc.) which promote
or oppose their transfer activities.
• They are real migrants, persons with hybrid identities, who develop
transfer activities in several geo-cultural spaces, which considerably
sharpens their intercultural and international consciousness.
These complex but crucially important transfer roles are rarely
acknowledged as such or studied in any depth because they transcend
traditional disciplinary divides (translation studies, literary studies,
history…) and their binary concepts (source-target,
national-international, cultural-intercultural…). The study of cultural
mediators and their transfer activities is therefore preferably
• interdisciplinary and collective, bringing together methods from
translation sociology, descriptive translation studies, transfer
studies, cultural history…
• process- and actor-oriented, in order to discover the complex
intersections of which cultural products are the surface result;
• start from the assumption that translation has to be studied in
relation to other transfer techniques and that "le débat académique
opposant transferts, comparaisons et croisements se résout de lui-même
dans la recherche empirique" (Charle 2010:16).
In short, "we need histories that describe the meshing and shifting of
different spatial references, narratives in which historical agency is
emphasized, and interpretations acknowledging that the changing patterns
of spatialization are processes fraught with tension" (Middell &
Naumann 2010: 161).
The colloquium is open to the totality of these historiographical and
translational questions, preferably tackled by means of case studies
• How and why mediators' transfer activities created new forms of
writing and translating and new actor roles, challenging the very
distinctions between translation, self-translation, multilingual
writing, adaptation … How and why did they introduce or oppose new
artistic practices? Did they undertake inter-artistic or
field-transgressing activities? Did they assume different
attitudes/strategies towards discursive and artistic mediating
• Which networks – informal or institutionalized, urban or
(inter)national, intra-cultural or intercultural – organized, supported
or controlled these transfer activities? « Les premières manifestations
d'un transfert ne sont pas des œuvres, souvent diffusées et traduites à
une époque très tardive, mais des individus échangeant des informations
ou des représentations et se constituant progressivement en réseaux. »
(Espagne & Werner 1987: 984).
• What was the function and effect of these transfer activities on the
consolidation or disintegration of multiple cultural identities? Special
attention should be paid to multiple interactions, implying multiple
directions and effects which a conceptualization in terms of `source'
vs. `target' cannot fully grasp.
• Which diachronic evolutions can be distinguished in mediating
activities? Did a shift from heterogeneous to more homogeneous cultures
possibly change the form, the content and the effects of discursive
transfer techniques and of mediation as a whole?
• How do these insights lead to a new historiography of cultural practices and cultural transfer?
• Which theoretical and methodological frameworks are most helpful to
study discursive, artistic and institutional mediating activities? And
which methodological implications does the study of intercultural and
international transfer practices have on the basic assumptions of
cultural history, translation studies and literary studies?
Proposals of 300 words approximately (English or French) and a short CV should be submitted to the organizers (reine.meylaerts at arts.kuleuven.be)
before October 1st 2013. Notification of acceptance will be given by
November 15, 2013. Papers and discussions will be held in English and