CFP: The Materiality of Feminist Texts and Translations: Economy, Production, and Text – Bern 06/17

From:    Magda Kaspar <>
Date:    08.02.2017

International Network ‘Translating
Feminism: Transfer, Transgression, Transformation (1945-1990)’;
organised by Dr. Maud Bracke, Dr. Penny Morris and Dr. Kristina Schulz
23.06.2017-24.06.2017, Bern, University of Bern
Deadline: 15.03.2017

The project “Translating Feminism” brings together scholars from three
continents wishing to pursue original, interdisciplinary research
focused on the global reach of feminist writing and women’s movements.
While the transformation of women’s social status is one of the most
significant developments of the post-war period, little is known about
the precise ways in which women’s rights campaigners across different
national and cultural settings communicated with one another, read and
translated each other’s texts, and locally recontextualised them. The
first international workshop in Glasgow in November 2016 provided the
opportunity to discuss historical findings and new theoretical
approaches. These discussions will be pursued further at the second
international workshop that will take place in Bern, Switzerland, June
23-24, 2017.

More precisely, the forthcoming workshop will be dedicated to the
materiality of feminist texts and to the material culture of feminist
literary activities, with a special focus on translation. Following
Roger Chartier, the meaning that readers give to a text is never
detached from the material conditions in which it is produced and
diffused. Chartier reminds us that the printed object is crucial to an
understanding of why and how people make sense of what they read. This
applies to translations in particular ways, as the physical quality of
both the source text and the translation establish an (imagined)
relationship between transnational and translingual writers and readers.
Women’s literary activities involved producing, diffusing, reading,
translating, and discussing texts from a woman’s point of view. But what
was considered to be a “woman’s point of view”, and how do global
transfers and translations de-stabilise accepted notions thereof?

Instead of studying feminism as a given system of ideas, regardless of
the context of its production and reception, we aim to study the variety
of material supportive of women- centred ideas, ranging from pamphlets
to self-published pirated editions and to printed books, as well as the
literary activities by which they are produced and transmitted. This
includes the fact that, while practising what social movement theorists
call ‘counter-cultural retreat’, when it came to literary activism,
feminists did engage with a broader public, both in terms of a
(potential) feminist public and the institutions and actors of the
publishing market.

Translating Feminism: Transfer, Transgression, Transformation
(1945-1990)We invite papers that deal with different aspects of feminist
text and book production, diffusion, and translation, such as:

– The materiality of the printed object and the conditions of (non-)
– The economic contexts of book publishing and translation
– The technical conditions of writing, translation and transnational
– Aspects of distribution
– Bookshops and reading communities
– The history of translation and a transnational feminist reading market

Practical arrangements:

Presenters will have approx. 15 minutes to discuss their paper, and
panels will consist of 3-4 papers. The pre-circulation of papers is
intended to foster deep engagement with each other’s work. Presenters
may be asked to act as discussant for another paper. Please include the
following in your proposal:

– A 300-word paper abstract
– A 200-word biographical statement with main publications and current
– State if you are seeking funding, with reference to the following
criteria: Limited funding to cover travel and accommodation is available
for researchers working on temporary contracts, and for academics
working outside Europe and North America.

Please send your proposals to the organisers by March 15, 2017. You will
be notified by mid-April 2017 and will be asked to circulate a draft of
your paper by June 1. The programme will be finalised and published in
the course of May 2017.

Second Workshop of the Leverhulme Trust funded International Network
‘Translating Feminism: Transfer, Transgression, Transformation
(1945-1990)’; organised by Dr. Maud Bracke, Dr. Penny Morris and Dr.
Kristina Schulz

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