Across Languages: Translingualism in Contemporary Women’s Writing

Keynote speakers: Anna-Louise Milne (University of London Institute in Paris), Rebecca L. Walkowitz (Rutgers University)

A Reading and Discussion with Katja Petrowskaja (Vielleicht Esther) and translator Shelley Frisch of the English translation, Maybe Esther, is scheduled as part of the conference on 30 May under the series Encounters: Writers and Translators in Conversation.

This conference is organised by the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) in collaboration with the AHRC Open World Research Initiative project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’. It follows on from an exploratory workshop that was held at the IMLR in March 2018, ‘A New Language – a New Life? Translingual literature by contemporary women writers’. It brings together scholars working on translingual women’s writing in a range of language fields in order to explore the particular richness of texts produced by writers in languages that are not their mother tongues.

In the current era of mass migration and transnational movement, analysis of translingualism as the mode of expression of this movement is an important area of inquiry. Where static concepts of belonging are questioned and increasingly replaced by hybrid identities and affiliations, and by fluid attachments, changing with time, the power of translingual language use and its analysis can become a means to re-imagine the identitarian force of language. Translingualism can bring to the fore new subjectivities and new forms of community (Kellman, 2000; Yildiz, 2012). Considered in conjunction with questions of gender and power, translingual writing can also reveal powerful ways of conceptualizing emancipatory feminine writing. Beyond concerns of identity formation, translingual language use opens up new ways of thinking, deconstructing established modes of expression through associative cross-language connections. In so transcending the binaries of language use it is apt to reveal new forms of literary writing.

Author: 
School of Advanced Study
Event date: 
Thursday, 30 May 2019 - 9:00am