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Fall 2013 Course Descriptions

English 5005  Objects of Translation

Section 001       CRN 95790
Objects of Translation       1900-2130 M

In recent years, scholarly focus on translation—not only in literary and cultural studies, but also in the fields of sociology, philosophy, linguistics, and anthropology—has transformed the humanities. The Romantic period, in Great Britain and beyond—provides us with fertile ground for investigating some of the most pressing questions about “objects of translation,” by which I mean to indicate the instruments and goals of translation, as well as those objects—texts, voices, ideas, things—that get translated. How do objects (in the widest sense) undergo translation? What are the tools and instruments that make translation happen? What is the status of the agent who makes translation happen? Is it reasonable or appropriate to consider nonhumans—animals and objects—as translators? Why and how should we incorporate translated texts into our teaching? How does focusing on translation enhance our learning, our teaching, and our communication?

An object of the course will be to provide an historical understanding of the nuanced role that translations and translators played during the Romantic period in order to familiarize students the theoretical and practical rewards afforded by “objects of translation.”   The course will address concepts such as “resonance,” “afterlife,” “translatability,” and “untranslatability” with the object of assisting students’ entrance into contemporary discussions in literary and cultural studies not limited to British Romanticism, discussions that transect historical and national boundaries.