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Protest and Dissent

Conflicting Spaces in Translation and Culture


Edited By Agnieszka Pantuchowicz and Anna Warso

Essays collected in this book discuss textual and discursive formulations of dominance and resistance. The authors analyze how they are narrated and re-narrated, framed and reframed in different social, political and language communities and realities, through different media and means, and translated into different contexts and languages. As the ways we name, rename, or label events, people and places have implications in the real world, the essays are also meant to investigate the ways in which we partake in negotiating its construction, its changing meanings and senses through the stories we tell and the practices we live by.

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“The Nation Again in the Twenty-First Century?”, or How Do I Translate My Dissent Such that You Might Understand?


Abstract: Addressing sensibilities of the left and right that one is dissenting against political cultures dominated by the other side, I appeal to the idea of human rights as a means of transcending political divides. That’s while I am also concerned about discourses of “the nation” – discourses that undermine universalistic concepts of experience and politics.

Keywords: nation-state, nationalism, human rights, dissent, communication

I’m not a translation expert; undoubtedly, it’s the political parts of this discussion about which I know the most. I am aware that Walter Benjamin (258) wrote that “the task of the translator consists in finding the particular intention toward the target language which produces in that language the echo of the original.” I.e., one wants the spirit of the original text to be understood. Still, many are aware of the incisions made on the body of easy understandings of translation by postmodern and deconstructive attacks on the determinacy meaning as well as late-twentieth rises of the concept of différance – notions that one rarely stands on solid ground as concerns historical context and senses that, even if one did, language’s multivocal nature would imbue history and signification with levels of uncertainty anyway (e.g., Davis). This forces us to open ourselves to the possibility of activist translation, or embracing translation as a matter of “strategy,” as one recent book has put it (Tymoczko, 3). That’s to say that it’s a messy world out there, and, in messy worlds, if one has an...

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