CONFERENCE: Key Cultural Texts in Translation, April 29-30 2014

CONFERENCE: Key Cultural Texts in Translation
University of Leicester
April 29-30 2014

The conference will be the culmination of the AHRC-funded Key Cultural Texts in Translation project, which aims to enhance our understanding of the changes that linguistic and other symbolic representations of identity undergo in translation across times, spaces and media.

The conference will focus on the ways in which cultures define and re-define themselves through the representation in texts and other artifacts (films; paintings …) of their key concepts. What happens to the images of the initial and the receiving cultures when these representations of key concepts are translated? How are key concepts re-represented? What can we learn from this about how peoples can adjust mutually in times of meetings and migration? (Further information in appendix at the end of this announcement).

There will be two keynote speakers, selections of papers, and discussion sessions aimed at engaging audiences across a number of subjects.

Fransiska Louwagie, University of Leicester; Kirsten Malmkjær, University of Leicester; Adriana Serban, University Montpellier 3; Meifang Zhang, University of Macao.


Jens Erland Braarvig, Professor of History of Religion, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.

Stella Sandford, Reader in Modern European Philosophy, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University.


Academicsin literary, historical, religious, social, cultural, linguistic and translation studies.

Policymakers, journalists and everyone engaged in public policy.

Book your place at the conference by going to
and clicking on the “Book Event” button.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by e-mail to Professor Kirsten Malmkjær at no later than 1 October 2013. You will be informed by 6 January 2014 whether your paper has been accepted.

Information about the AHRC-funded “Key Cultural Texts in Translation” network based at the Research Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies (RTISt), the University of Leicester, UK, with partners at the Département d’études anglophones, Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3, France, and The Department of English, University of Macao, P.R. China.

Title of Research Project: Key Cultural Texts in Translation

Principal Investigator: Professor Kirsten Malmkjær (Leicester)
Partners: Dr Adriana Serban (Montpellier); Professor Zhang Meifang (Macao)

The Network addresses the AHRC’s “Translating Cultures” theme, focusing primarily on the translation of texts, but also on intersemiotic translation in Jakobson’s (1966: 233) sense of “an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems” (or vice versa).

It will identify texts (broadly defined) to be collected in an e-repository accessible through the Website of the Research Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies (RTISt) at the University of Leicester, and bring together translation professionals and scholars from the UK, Europe and China to discuss and explore the relationships between

·         the characteristics of texts and artifacts through which cultures establish, define, develop, maintain, promulgate and defend their identities
·         the characteristics of translations and retranslations of these across times and spaces
·         the complex matter of movements and relocations of peoples across national and cultural boundaries.

It seeks to disseminate its findings and outcomes widely within and beyond academia.

Writing Beyond Borders interdisciplinary postgraduate conference, Manchester, Friday 10th September 2013

Registration for University of Manchester’s Writing Beyond Borders interdisciplinary postgraduate conference is now open.

To register your attendance, please go here.

Registration costs £4, and this includes welcome pack, lunch on the day, and the post-conference drinks reception. Registration closes on Friday 10th September 2013.

A provisional programme of the day’s panels can be found here.

Poetics of Law, Politics of Self

Dates of Event
5th September 2013 – 
6th September 2013
Last Booking Date for this Event
30th August 2013


This two-day conference seeks to explore the ‘meaning-making’ functions of law and examine the role played by imperial law in the fashioning of cultural identities.

Conceived within the broader thematic of colonial law and cultural change, this conference is the final academic event planned within the AHRC funded research network – ‘Subjects of law: rightful selves and the legal process in imperial Britain and the British Empire.’

While the focus is on the contours and processes of cultural and legal change within the British Empire, comparative insights from other imperial/colonial contexts would be very warmly welcomed.

Confirmed speakers include

  • Professor Eliga Gould, University of New Hampshire
  • Professor Javed Majeed, King’s College, London
  • Professor Lakshmi Subramanian, CSSSC, Kolkata

View the combined flyer and call for papers

CFP. Le monde en français/The World in French. Aarhus University, Denmark, January 13-15, 2014

Le monde en français/The World in French
Les littératures francophones dans un espace mondialisé
Francophone Literatures in a Globalized World
Colloque bilingue/bilingual conference


Extended deadline September 15, 2013
Date limite de soumission reportée au 15 septembre 2013
Université d’Aarhus, Danemark, 13-15 Janvier 2014
Aarhus University, Denmark, January 13-15, 2014


La littérature française n’est plus une affaire réservée aux seuls Français. À la suite du déclin progressif de la France en tant que puissance coloniale et de l’émergence de structures mondialisées dans les domaines de l’économie et de la culture, le lien naturel qui prévalait en France entre nation et littérature s’est distendu et partiellement rompu.
Cette dénationalisation de la littérature française a fait l’objet de débats passionnés ces dernières années autour de notions comme « littérature-monde », « francophonie postcoloniale » ou « mondialisation culturelle ». Le Manifeste pour une littérature-monde en français publié le 19 mars 2007 a marqué une étape importante dans ces débats. Mais il s’insère dans un courant plus large visant à repenser à la fois l’objet et la position des études littéraires et culturelles françaises. Ce courant est illustré notamment par les travaux de Pascale Casanova, Christie McDonald et Susan Rubin Suleiman. Il est également illustré par des études importantes sur la créolisation, la circulation de formes et de modèles littéraires, ainsi que par des travaux sur les processus de traduction en France et dans les autres espaces francophones.


L’objectif de ce colloque est d’interroger ces thématiques selon deux axes :
• Réflexions sur les défis que posent ces changements pour les chercheurs, écrivains et lecteurs dans leur travail d’historicisation et de conceptualisation du domaine de la littérature écrite en français.
• Analyses des réponses littéraires données à ces problématiques à travers le monde francophone. Quelles sont les dimensions ou les limites de l’espace culturel francophone aujourd’hui ?
Nous sollicitons des communications qui analysent et questionnent différents aspects de ces thématiques. Dans un cadre plus spécifiquement littéraire, nous attendons des communications sur les interprétations ou expressions particulières de l’expérience des frontières mouvantes de cet espace ; des approches théoriques sont également bienvenues.


Thématiques concernées
– L’historiographie et l’enseignement de la littérature en langue française dans une perspective mondialisée.
– La notion de littérature-monde et ses implications poétiques et théoriques.
– Le rôle de la mémoire et sa relation avec l’histoire dans les littératures en français.
– Formes et expressions littéraires dans un monde en mutation.
– Les processus de créolisation à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’Hexagone.
– Les flux et processus de traduction dans l’espace francophone.
– Les circulations d’auteurs et de formes littéraires en France et dans les espaces francophones.


French literature is no longer a matter simply for the French. Following the decline, however gradual, of France as a colonial power and the rise of global economic and cultural structures, the natural link between nation and literature has been severed.


This conference seeks to address these developments in a double perspective:
• Discussing the challenges that these changes poses to us as scholars, authors and readers in terms of historicizing and conceptualizing the field of literature written in French.
• Focusing on the literary responses to these developments as they present themselves in different guises throughout the French-speaking world. What is the French World and how do we see the World in French ?


These matters have of course been discussed passionately in later years under headings such as littérature-monde, Francophone Postcolonialism and the globalization of literature. The Littérature-monde manifesto published in 2007 serves as an important marker in these discussions, but it is supplemented by numerous efforts to re-conceptualize the topic of ‘French’ studies, such as the work presented by Pascale Casanova, Christie McDonald and Susan Rubin Suleiman in their book French Global from 2012, the long tradition of studies in creole literatures, studies of literary and stylistic migrations and the studies of processes of translation to and from French as well as within the francophone world.
We welcome contributions that approach the field from all the aspects perspectives listed below and others. We specifically encourage contributions that engage with specific literary expressions or interpretations of this new world, but of course also welcome more theoretical or conceptual approaches.
Applicable topics

– Problems of literary historiography and the teaching of French literature on globalized terms
– Processes of creolisation outside and inside the hexagon
– The concept of littérature monde and its poetic and conceptual implications
– Processes of translation within and to and from the French language
– The changing importance of memory in literary expression and its relation to history
– Literary style in a changing world
– Migration of people and of forms in France and the French speaking world


Conférences plénières/Keynote speakers


Emily Apter, New York University
Emmanuel Fraisse, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3
Françoise Lionnet, UCLA
François Provenzano, Université de Liège


Modalités de soumission
Les propositions de communication (250 mots maximum) devront être accompagnées d’une notice biographique (nom, bref CV, affiliation universitaire, adresse courriel) et envoyées par courriel à au plus tard le 15 septembre 2013. La durée des présentations, qui pourront se faire en anglais ou en français, est fixée à 20 minutes. La réponse du comité scientifique sera communiquée à partir du 1er octobre 2013.
Les frais d’inscriptions de 100 € comprennent les repas de midi et le dîner du colloque. Aucune aide financière ne pourra être fournie pour les frais d’hébergement ou pour le déplacement des participants, mais un nombre limité de participants peuvent être exemptés des frais d’inscription sur demande.
Des informations supplémentaires sont disponibles sur le site internet du colloque Pour d’éventuelles questions n’hésitez pas à nous contacter à l’adresse


Submission and registration
Submissions should include the submitter’s name, institutional address, e-mail address, short CV, and a 250-word abstract of the proposed 20 min. paper and should be sent via e-mail to no later than September 15, 2013. Submitters will be notified of the outcome no later than October 1. Any questions and queries can also be directed to this address. The registration fee is € 100 and includes light lunches and a conference dinner. Participants are responsible for covering their own travel and lodging and other meal expenses. A limited number of participants can be exempt from the fee upon application.
Information about registration, hotels and other practical matters is available on the conference website:

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions and queries at

Comité scientifique et d’organisation/Organizing committee
Mads Anders Baggesgaard, Université d’Aarhus
Lisbeth Verstraete Hansen, Copenhagen Business School
Steen Bille Jørgensen, Université d’Aarhus
Svend Erik Larsen, Université d’Aarhus

La Revue: The Twentieth-Century Periodical in French

La Revue

The Twentieth-Century Periodical in French

Forsdick, Charles / Stafford, Andy (eds)

Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013. 379 pp.

Modern French Identities. Vol. 66
Edited by Peter Collier

Softcover : ISBN 978-3-03910-947-0

eBook : ISBN 978-3-0353-0471-8


The journal, periodical or revue has a long and largely unexplored history. This volume aims, through a series of focused case studies, to explore the twentieth-century periodical publication in French, offering an overview of some of its most important manifestations and providing a general reflection on this complex textual form.


David Steel : Une revue méconnue : Paul Desjardins et sa Civilisation Française – Alexandre Gefen : La Revue Blanche : modèle et anti-modèle revuiste au seuil du XXème siècle – Soheila Esmaïli : La Nouvelle Revue Française et le Surréalisme de 1924 à 1940 – Virginie Lupo : Les Temps modernes : scène privée, scène publique – Stamatina Dimakopoulou: Surrealism and the American Grain in VVV, 1942-1944: Culture, Theory, Art – Andy Stafford : ‘Dynamite explosée dans les arcanes pourris des vieux humanismes’: A Literature of Politics or a Politics of Literature? Souffles, 1966-1972 – Katy Hindson/Charles Forsdick: France, Europe, the World: Gulliver, or the Journal as Vehicle of Literary Transformation – Patrick Suter : Poétique Surréaliste de l’anti-journal– Michael G. Kelly: Rhetoric and Metaphysics of the Avant-garde Community: Le Grand Jeu, 1928-1930 – Jean-Sébastien Lemieux : La modernité de IIIme Convoi : Rimbaud et Michaux convoqués par Jean Maquet – Robert Furlong : L’Essor, 1919-1959, et la production littéraire mauricienne – Joan Tumblety : Je suis partout, 1930-1944 – Pascal Mercier : Heurs et malheurs d’une ‘revue de jeunes’ :Confluences, 1941-1947 – Meadow Dibble-Dieng: When the Medium was the Message: Editorial Practice in the First Series of Présence Africaine – Marc André Brouillette : Ancrages et perceptions de la revue québécoise Liberté – Debra Kelly: Pierre Albert-Birot and SIC: The Avant-garde Review as Collective Adventure and Personal Poetics – Roxane Jubert : La revueLettrisme : vaste indicateur du mouvement isouien – Charlotte Garson : Nomadisme saisonnier et écriture critique : notes sur le rôle des festivals pour les Cahiers du cinéma – Emma Wagstaff : ‘Ce qui demeure’: L’Éphémère and André du Bouchet.

Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of Diversity (2000) and Travel in Twentieth-Century French and Francophone Cultures: The Persistence of Diversity (2005). He has co-edited Francophone Postcolonial Studies: A Critical Introduction (2003) and, with Andy Stafford, The Modern Essay in French: Movement, Instability, Performance (2005).

Andy Stafford is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Leeds. He is the author ofRoland Barthes, Phenomenon and Myth: An Intellectual Biography (1998) and translated and co-edited a collection of Roland Barthes’s writings on fashion, The Language of Fashion(2006). He co-edited, with Charles Forsdick, the volume The Modern Essay in French: Movement, Instability, Performance (2005).




A workshop exploring desire and dissidence in the Anglophone Caribbean



Bob Kayley Theatre, Minghella Building, University of Reading, UK

In recent years, some of the most urgent and highly-charged public and political debates in the Anglophone Caribbean have centred on sexual citizenship. While it is important to acknowledge the very real barriers and prejudices that face people in relation to sexual freedoms and the urgent struggles and challenges that are ongoing, it is also important to recognize and affirm that Caribbean expressive cultural forms have – for a long time – given life and voice to a whole range of ways of living and loving. This workshop will discuss recent representations of Caribbean sexualities across different disciplines.

The workshop will feature two roundtable discussions: the first with Alison Donnell, Keon West, and Sexualities in the Tent speakers; the second entitled ‘Reading Sexualities, Reading Literature’, with Denise deCaires Narain, Kate Houlden and Wendy Knepper. Writers Lawrence Scott and Bernardine Evaristo will read from their works, and Campbell X will present clips from the film Stud Life.

All are welcome to this free event. However, places are limited. To register, or to request a postgraduate/early career travel bursary, please contact Dr Nicola Abram:  For further information, please contact Professor Alison Donnell:

This workshop is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

LADO: language analysis for the determination of origin

Many thanks to Alison Phipps for drawing my attention to ‘Court of Session rules on linguistic analysis’, a post by Joe Bryce on Colin Yeo’s Free Movement blog about a recent decision in the Inner House of the Court of Session – the Scottish equivalent to the Court of Appeal – on the Home Office’s use of language analysis for the determination of origin, otherwise known as‘LADO’. It makes fascinating reading for those interested in questions of language and asylum law. The blog also includes other posts by posts by Colin Yeo where he refers to the RB: Somalia case south of the border, which this judgment begins to challenge.

Joe Bryce’s post concludes: ‘So there we have it. The Court of Session has provided clear guidance that language analysis reports are just expert reports, like any other. They are not pixie dust. Each individual report must be read, analysed, and interrogated, just as we would all (practitioners and judiciary alike) do with any other form of expert report.’ Assistance in the case was given by Sarah Craig, Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow University of Glasgow, author of a recent Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law article on The use of language analysis in asylum decision-making in the UK – a discussionand PI of the AHRC ‘translating cultures’ Research Networking Award on ‘Translation and Asylum Claims: Matters of law, language and silence’.

Decolonizing Sexualities Network (DSN): forthcoming events

1. The AHRC funded Decolonizing Sexualities Network (DSN) roundtable event followed by a book launch will be taking place on:

Wednesday 3rd July from 15.00-18.00 in Keynes College Lecture Theatre 4, University of Kent. Canterbury.

15.00-16.30 DSN roundtable speakers include:

Sokari Ekine (Queer feminist writer, blogger and educator and founder and principal author of Black Looks).

Sabreen Al-Rassace, Ariadine Boussetta, Moruni Turlot, Vanessa Wilson, Nawo Crawford from Paris-based activist group Lesbians of Colour.


Fatima El Tayeb (Associate Professor – African-American Literature and Culture, UC San Diego)- ‘European Queer of Color Activism and Global Networking’

Paola Bachetta (Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies , UC Berkeley)– Title to be confirmed.

16.30-17.00: Refreshments

This will be followed at 17.00 – 18.00 with:

Book Launch of ‘Queer African Reader’ (2013) edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas (Fahamu Books and Pambazuka Press)

Speakers: Sokari Ekine and Valerie Mason-John

Chair: Eddie Bruce-Jones (Lecturer, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London).


2. Safra Project conference 2013

This event will bring together individuals, academics, activists and communities to discuss a range of issues that impact on the lives of queer Muslim women in the UK and beyond. Themes to be addressed include statutory service provision, Islamic theology, the global context and youth. There will also be live music and poetry performances from Ajah UK.

Date: Saturday 6 July

Location: Birkbeck University, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HX

Programme: 10.00 – 10.30 Registration
10.30 – 10:40 Welcome
10:40 – 12:00 Keynote Speakers – open session Chaired by Dr. Umut Erel • Women’s same-sex relationships in Islamic theology (Dr. Ghazala Anwar) • Pink Washing (Sarah Colborne- Director of Palestinian Solidarity Campaign) • Global happenings, international networks and geopolitics (Asst. Prof. Anissa Helie)
12:00 – 13:00 Refreshments and performance by Ajah Uk and poetry Fronted by Lucidity and Jaheda Choudhury this group have already been making a name for themselves across the North West and Manchester. The group draws from its collective strength of being multi-gender, multi-racial, multi lingual and multi-sexuality to create music that challenges preconceptions and embraces individuality.
13:00 – 14:00 ‘World Cafe’ workshop – closed session for Muslim lesbian, bisexual and trans women only • Women and the Mosque • Statutory service provision for Muslim lesbian, bisexual and trans women • Youth and the scene
14:00 – 14:10 Final remarks

 Keynote Speakers: Dr Ghazala Anwar of Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, California. Dr Anwar’s research and teaching interests include Islamic jurisprudence and Sufism, as well as the exploration of issues of healing, gender and sexuality in Islam. She also participates frequently in national and international colloquia on interfaith dialogue and other current issues relating to Islam.
Asst. Prof. Anissa Helie of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York. An expert on colonial history and decolonization processes; politics of Islam and gender; gender, women and sexualities in Muslim contexts; religious fundamentalisms, violent conflict and women. She is a board member of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights and of Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights. She also serves on WLUML’s Publications Committee, and on the Advisory Editorial Board of Reproductive Health Matters Journal.

Sarah Colborne– Director of Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) PSC works to build a mass movement and change government policy on Palestine, through focused and coordinated national and local activism; and is building alliances with faith groups, students, trade unions and other organisations in support of Palestinian rights. Sarah has also been centrally involved in campaigns against racism and for abortion and LGBT rights. She presented in a panel at the World Social Forum-Free Palestine in November 2012, organised by Queer Visions, on creative campaigning to expose Israel’s attempt to ‘pinkwash’ its occupation.


ASMCF North West, Postgraduate workshop, Wednesday 19 June 2013

ASMCF North West

Postgraduate workshop 2013

University of Liverpool

Eleanor Rathbone Building

Seminar Room 102/3

Wednesday 19 June 2013


All welcome, but spaces are limited and advance registration is required by Wednesday 12 June. Please contact Charles Forsdick ( to register, or for further details.



10.30-11: Coffee and welcome

 11-12: Rethinking Histories

Mason Norton (Edge Hill University)

‘Comment peut-on être résistant?’ Definitions and Varieties of Resistance in France, 1940-1944

Géraldine Crahay (Bangor University)

Funnel-shaped anuses and effeminate tastes: The figure of the homosexual in French scientific writings in the first part of the nineteenth century

12-1: Lunch

1-2: Spaces

Ravi Hensman (University of Manchester)

When bidonville met brutalism:  reconstructing the banlieue in the French urban imagination, 1959-67

Sarah Wood (University of Manchester)

Silences, space and ecology: Representing the ‘Amerindian’ in contemporary Guyane

2.15-3.15: Visual Cultures

Florence Bögelein (University of Liverpool)

L’art de la cruauté en société, dans Caché de Michael Haneke

3.15-3.45: Coffee

3.45-4.45: Language Policy and the Linguistic Landcape

Will Amos (University of Liverpool)

Multilingualism in the Linguistic Landscape: translation, code preference and language policy

Michelle Harrison (University of Liverpool)

Bilingual education in Alsace: Is there a place for the local language variety alongside the promotion of standard languages?



‘Translating China’: diasporic translations

Last Friday’s workshop of the AHRC ‘Translating Cultures’ network on ‘Translating China’ brought this stage of the project to a conclusion, completing a fascinating series of events on topics including archiving China in Britain (full details of all of which are available on the project’s site). The final event brought together academics, activists, artists and performers, and was devoted to questions of translation across the Chinese diaspora. It opened with a presentation by Ming-Ai on their work around Chinese heritage in Britain, relating in particular to food  (from the first known Chinese menu in the Britain at the 1884 International Health Exhibition) and labour (especially in the light of the organization’s current British Chinese workforce heritage project on seafaring, laundering, catering, the military, Chinese community services, health care, traditional Chinese medicine and new professions). Questions of labour in the diaspora were addressed further by Judith Misrahi-Barak, in a paper on the under-explored area of Chinese indenture in the Caribbean, a phenomenon first evident with the arrival of 192 labourers from China  on the Fortitude in Trinidad in 1806. Judith proposed an enlightening analysis of the small corpus of literary texts on this subject, including recent work by Jan Shinebourne. In a paper of J.G. Ballard and Shanghai, Duncan Hewitt considered a very different vector of diasporic influence, highlighting the ways in which the author’s childhood experiences of wartime Shanghai had a more profound influence than is customarily accepted on the development of a specifically Ballardian aesthetics of decline and decay. Other forms of diasporic translation addressed by speakers included dance (in a paper by Geraldine Morris on ballet) and visual arts (in papers by Pamela Kember on Hong Kong’s visual diaspora, and Rachel Marsden on the challenges of transcultural curating). Jeffrey Wasserstrom spoken about the digital transformation in communication across the diaspora allowed by the emergence of new media, comparing these new technologies to the impact of the telegraph in the late nineteenth century.

The stated aim of the network has been, whilst ‘investigating changing conceptions of China and Chineseness in Britain’, to ‘contribute towards the ongoing reformulation of both British and Chinese cultural understandings in the context of a multicultural Britain still structured by racialised inequalities and Orientalist stereotypes’. The closing contribution from the actor Daniel York illustrated the ways in which the project has engaged with and in these urgent debates. Daniel talked about his forthcoming play, ‘The Fu Manchu Complex’, to be produced at the Ovalhouse Theatre in the Autumn. Focusing on (the lack of) television and theatre roles open to East Asian actors, there was discussion of the  invisibility of practitioners from this group in the mainstream media, and the perpetuation among certain directors and producers of a Victorian notion of Chinese-ness dependent on qualities such as inscrutability. There was also some focus on the controversy surrounding casting of the recent RSC production of the Chinese classic The Orphan of Zhao, a work also studied as part of another ‘Translating Cultures’ network on ‘Staging China’ in Leeds,

This was an excellent workshop, reflecting the richness and timeliness of the project’s theme, as well as the appetite amongst researchers and practitioners to work together on addressing the questions this subject raises. I hope we will see this research sustained and developed far beyond the life of the initial AHRC network.

Étonnants voyageurs 2013: world literature/littérature-monde

The Étonnants voyageurs festival in Saint Malo once again this year provided a rich programme of talks, films and exhibitions. Demand, as is often the case at this event, outstripped supply, and many were turned away from the more popular sessions with authors such as Azouz Begag (publicizing his latest novel, Salam Ouessant). The salon du livre provided a lively showcase for recently published work in the areas of travel writing, bande dessinée, works in French translation and ‘world literature in French’, and there was a firm assertion of the book as a material object to be signed by the many authors who were present. Memorable sessions included a celebration of the first decade of the Montreal publisher Mémoire d’encrier, appropriately hosted in the Maison du Québec, featuring Rodney Saint Eloi, Dany Laferrière, Laure Morali and Naomi Fontaine, and a discussion between the indefatigable Frankétienne and Helon Habila on the theme of the double. A number of travel writers were present, and I was interested to hear Jean-Luc Coatalem talk about his topical new travelogue on North Korea. What drew me in particular, however, were the sessions arranged by Word Alliance, ‘a strategic international partnership’ of eight of the world’s leading literature festivals ‘which supports and showcases the work of writers, facilitates the creation of international literature projects and provides opportunities to enhance each festival’s artistic programme’. Most notably, Saint Malo provided the stage for the latest meeting of Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference. Inspired by the 1962 International Writers Conference in Edinburgh, about which a fascinating history has recently been published by Cargo Publishing, this series of events is asking the same set of questions about literature in a variety of different locations: Scotland, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Turkey, Belgium, Trinidad, Portugal, France, Malaysia and Australia.

After the flurry of activity around littérature-monde in 2007 and 2008, it might be argued that the festival’s contribution to development of the notion and wider project has the initial lacked focus it enjoyed. Michel Le Bris has noted that the debate has resonated outside France in a series of colloquia and publications, often taking a critical turn perhaps unexpected by the original signatories of the manifesto. The re-launch of the journal Gulliver as a vehicle for the movement has, not, however, happened. Yet what seems clear is that the continued emergence and visibility of ‘translingual’ French writers—i.e. those who have migrated from other languages to French—alongside the overdue visibility of ‘Francophone postcolonial’ authors mean that twenty-first-century literature in French is a very different phenomenon from that of previous centuries, and one worthy of increasingly close attention.

One criticism of the original littérature-monde manifesto was its oxymoronic tendency to juxtapose ‘monde’ with ‘en français’, a gesture that is at once inclusive and exclusive. As writers such as Glissant and Khatibi made clear in the second half of the twentieth century, literary manifestations of postcoloniality are often explicitly or implicitly polyglossic, and the recognition of post-national or globalized literatures requires adjustments that are not only geo-cultural but also linguistic, challenging any residual monolingualism or monoculturalism and all that the reduction to a single language or culture implies. The coupling of ‘littérature’ and ‘monde’ raised additional but largely unacknowledged questions about world systems theory, and the limitations of literary circulation dependent on the centripetal institutions of the Francophone publishing world (Paris-based publishers, metropolitan literary prizes, etc., and the disproportionate control these imply) – this is why it is encouraging to see publishers such as Mémoire d’encrier continuing to be creative in their activity in what is such a difficult market, although Quebec is arguably one of the only genuinely strong publishing poles in the French-speaking world outside France.

The involvement of Saint Malo in the Word Alliance offers the potential for the opening-up of debates around littérature-monde that a number of us have been advocating for some time. In the sessions I was able to attend at this year’s festival, on Peut-on parler de « littérature nationale »?, La littérature se doit-elle d’être politique? and L’avenir du roman, there was some evidence of the debates present in Pour une littérature voyageuse, the first movement to emerge in Saint Malo in the later 1980s and early 1990s: Kenneth White talked about geopoetics as a form of post-national literature; Michel Le Bris himself advocated a type of contemporary fiction that rejects the nouveau roman and structuralism, and reflects a form of narration of the réel advocated by early twentieth-century figures such as Jacques Rivière. What the format of these sessions allowed, however, was the granting of space to new voices from among those translingual writers to whom I have referred above.

The Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference format involves a writer presenting a short lecture on the session topic, followed by responses from other authors contributing to debate on the theme. Velibor Colic began the session on national literatures, Atiq Rahimi that on literature and politics. As these debates reverberate in different languages and in different locations, directly addressing questions of politics (and the politics of language, as well as the politics of translation), it can only be hoped that discussions of World Literature, Weltliteratur and littérature-monde will be reignited in ways that emphasize the ‘worlding’ and ‘worldliness’ that these terms imply.

AHRC Translating Cultures Workshop, Thursday 27 June 2013

AHRC Translating Cultures Workshop

Concepts, Theories, Methods


Date: Thursday 27 June 2013

Time: 11am-5pm

Venue: Room 349, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Directions to venue:

Organizer: Charles Forsdick, AHRC Theme Leadership Fellow, Translating Cultures

Numbers will be limited, and advance registration of participants other than speakers will be required by Friday 14 June at the latest. Please contact Charles Forsdick (

The aim of the workshop is to provide a forum for a number of researchers who have received support from the AHRC under the ‘Translating Cultures’ highlight call to reflect on the contribution of their projects (Research Development Awards, Fellowships, Networking Awards) to the growth of the theme, and also to engage in wider discussion about the evolution of Translating Cultures. There is a particular interest in exploring, through consideration of these specific projects, the definitional, conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues that the Translating Cultures theme has generated thus far, as well the theme’s current shape, scope and scale.


10.30 Arrivals and coffee

11.00 Introduction (Charles Forsdick)

11.15 Session One—Encounters

Nandini Das; Siobhán Shilton; Anne Witchard

12.45 Lunch

14.00 Session Two—Beyond the Text: Transmedial Cultures

Susan Daniels & Ruru Li; Lucile Desblache; Genevieve Warwick

15.15 Coffee

15.30 Session Three—Multilingual Contexts: Translating Knowledge

Emma Campbell; Hilary Footitt; Prue Holmes

16.45 Concluding remarks


Contributors to the workshop:

Emma Campbell (University of Warwick), Fellowship Award, Translation in Medieval Francophone Texts and Manuscripts

Susan Daniels & Ruru Li, Leeds (University of Leeds), Research Networking Award, Staging China

Nandini Das (University of Liverpool), Fellowship Award, An edition of Levant Travels, South Asia, and Anglo-Ottoman Diplomacy in Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598-1600)

Lucile Desblache (Roehampton University), PI, Research Networking Award, Translating Music

Hilary Footitt (University of Reading), PI, Research Development Award, Languages and international NGOs: cultural knowledge in communities in crisis

Prue Holmes (Durham University), PI, Research Networking Award, Researching Multilingually

Siobhán Shilton (University of Bristol), Fellowship Award, Transcultural Encounters: Postcolonialism in the Visual Arts

Genevieve Warwick (University of Edinburgh), Fellowship Award, Sculpture in Painting: Medial Translations in Renaissance Art

Anne Witchard (University of Westminster), PI, Research Networking Award, China in Britain, Myths and Realities

Aimé Césaire: A Centenary Celebration

Aimé Césaire: A Centenary Celebration


At the French Institute,

17 Queensberry Place,



24th June, 2013


Aimé Césaire, the great poet, politician and playwright, was born in Martinique on 26th June, 1913. He has been hailed as the leading francophone poet of the twentieth century and one of the prophets of negritude – the 1930s black consciousness movement whose steadfast aim was to ‘decolonise the mind’ and reassert pride in the African cultural values of the diaspora.

Césaire, who died in 2008, was an intellectual of great discernment and eloquence; an artist of the avant-garde who championed non-Western cultural forms. His influence upon post-colonial discourse is abiding. An international and inter-disciplinary colloquium on Monday 24th June (9.30am-6pm) will honour and explore Aimé Césaire’s life, work and legacy. Selections of his poetry and plays will be recited and performed, both in English and French.


Provisional Programme

9.30-10:Accueil/Registration (thé, café)


10-11.30: Accueil/Welcome

Professors Richard and Sally Price: ‘Césaire: Personal Reminiscences’

Professor Charles Forsdick: ‘Il n’y a pas de race paria’: Césaire and Haiti


Pause thé, café



Professor Roger Little: ‘The Poetry of Césaire’s Cahier

Dr Louise Hardwick: ‘Teaching Césaire’s Poetry: An Online Approach’

Isabelle Fruleux (Actress)





Dr Philip Crispin: ‘Our Black Shakespeare’: Césaire and Theatre

Dr Fabienne Viala: ‘Césaire’s Caliban: A New Paradigm for Caribbean Cultural Cannibalism?’


Pause thé, café



Le Professeur Romuald Fonkoua: ‘La littérature au secours de la politique: brève lecture du Discours sur le colonialisme

Isabelle Fruleux

Table Ronde

Au revoir


Registration fee: £20

To register and for further information, please contact the organiser:

Dr Philip Crispin, University of Hull,



Anthem Studies in Travel: Call for Book Proposals

We are interested in receiving book proposals for Anthem Studies in Travel. The series publishes new and pioneering work in the burgeoning field of travel studies. Titles in this series engage with questions of travel, travel writing, literature and history, and encompass some of the most exciting current scholarship in a variety of disciplines. Proposals for monographs and collections of essays may focus on research representing a broad range of geographical zones and historical contexts. All critical approaches are welcome, although a key feature of books published in the series will be their potential interest to a wide readership, as well as their originality and potential to break new ground in research.

You can find more information here.

We welcome submissions of proposals for challenging and original works that meet the criteria of this series. We make prompt editorial decisions. Our titles are published simultaneously in print and ebook editions and are subject to peer review by recognized authorities in the field. Should you wish to send in a proposal for a collection of essays, a single or multi-authored monograph, or a course reader, please contact us at:

Charles Forsdick, Series Editor, Anthem Studies in Travel,

‘Pioneering into regions Caesar never knew’: Beyond a Boundary in Glasgow

To devote a conference to a single book is rare, perhaps because so few volumes withstand such prolonged critical focus or provide opportunities for close reading that avoid descent into the pedantic, trivial or arcane. A workshop or day seminar is merited, perhaps—but to deserve the sustained scrutiny, across a series of sessions and over several days, that a dedicated conference implies requires that the title under scrutiny has demonstrated a sufficient impact, has enjoyed a sufficient resonance and, perhaps most importantly, speaks to a diverse audience, cross-disciplinary, as well as academic and non-academic.

C.L.R. James’s Beyond a Boundary, to which a conference was dedicated last week in Glasgow, meets these criteria. In one of the text’s most quoted and quotable sentences, James riffs on Kipling, and asks: ‘what do they know of cricket who only cricket know?’, necessarily inviting multi-dimensional, multi-directional readings of a work whose worldliness means that words and meanings spill beyond its pages. The Glasgow event brought together James scholars, cricket enthusiasts, political activists, literary specialists and many others in a collective re-reading of James’s text, itself published fifty years ago this year. What emerged was a complex portrait of a book, produced—in the terms of Robert Hill, opening keynote speaker at the conference—across a series of ‘moments’, and in a number of different locations (Britain, Trinidad and Spain). At the same time, speakers at the event located Beyond a Boundary within the political evolution of its author, and also presented the work as a foundational study in the field of sport, politics and society.

This is a generically indeterminate book, characterized by its vogue-ing between autobiography, history, social commentary and the study of sport. It is also a book that has travelled, through editions and around a network of readers on both sides of the Atlantic – it was noted at the conference that a scholars’ edition for use in Caribbean schools has just been produced by Ian Randall, with an introduction by Hilary Beckles, reflecting the text’s on-going influence in Trinidad itself.

The event opened with a screening of Mike Dibb’s film of 1976, Beyond a Boundary, an exceptional documentary account of the book’s genesis and of its meanings within James’s life. Still particularly striking is footage of James’s return to Nelson, where he had lodged with Learie Constantine in the 1930s whilst working as a cricket correspondent and (between seasons) pushing on with the research on the Haitian Revolution that would culminate in The Black Jacobins. Dibb filmed James reunited with acquaintances of that period, and watching a cricket match together. In those sections, the film highlighted the gulf between the Trinidadian in inter-war exile and the local population – but also revealed the particular solidarities that nevertheless emerged in the Lancashire town once dubbed ‘Little Moscow’. The opening keynote lecture was delivered by Robert Hill, James’s literary executor, editor of the Garvey papers and (in David Scott’s terms) ‘archaeologist of black memory’. In a brilliant paper, drawing heavily on correspondence and manuscript sources, Hill tracked the emergence of James’s text, revealing the work’s entanglements in, for instance, James’s return to Trinidad, the role of George Lamming in ensuring its publication, and the place of F.R. Leavis in its evolution (and in James’s reading of the game of cricket as closely as he might have read a poem). C.L.R. James, Robert Hill noted, could be seen as a ‘creole Leavisite’. Particularly striking was the sense of a transatlantic dialogue between James and comrades he had left behind in the United States, made very clear in a remarkable letter from Grace Lee Boggs in which she compared James’s emerging reflections on cricket with her own observations on total participation of the crowd at a football game in Detroit. In a subsequent plenary, Wai Chee Dimock explored Mariners, Renegades and Castaways, presenting the text produced by James while he was confined on Ellis Island as a reflection on the indestructibility of the Herman Melville’s crew, bringing them as a result to the foreground of the narrative. The paper was also interested in James’s text as a rewriting of Melville, and situated Beyond a Boundary as a result in a continuum, the latest stage of which is Frank Stella’s art work inspired by Moby Dick. The continuing scope and scale of the impact of Beyond a Boundary was made clear in the third plenary, delivered by former England captain Mike Brearley, who presented ‘what do they know of cricket?’ as a Socratic question, ultimately unanswerable but a means nevertheless of exploring knowledge of the game in a number of different spheres, technical, critical and reflective. ‘What happens within the boundary,’ he concluded, ‘influences profoundly what happens beyond the boundary.’

The rest of the sessions were equally rich, and it seems unfair to single out individual papers—but I was particularly struck by Roy McCree’s study of the book’s genesis (and not least the evolution of its title, variously proposed as Who Only Cricket Know, W.G.: A West Indian Grace, W. Indian Progeny of Grace, and The Cricket Crusaders); Arin Keeble’s reflection on James’s influence on Joseph O’Neil (and the implications of this for the understanding of cricket in North American life); David Austin’s discussion of James’s ambiguous engagement with Africanism in the Caribbean, most notably in the figure of Matthew Bondsman; Paul Bérard’s study of James and Caribbean activism in 1960s Montreal; and Christian Hogsbjerg’s political reading of James’s 1930s cricket writing (not least that published in The Glasgow Herald).

In a paper on the ‘Caribbean Beyond’, Aaron Kamugisha explored the implications of the first word of James’s title, drawing implicitly on the work of Sylvia Winter to set out the ways in which James’s work represents ‘an epistemologically daring landmark in the quest for a future beyond coloniality’. (Reflecting on the ‘Caribbean beyond’, he noted also that Simon Schwartz-Bart’s Pluie et Vent sur Telumée Miracle is translated as The Bridge of Beyond.) ‘Beyond’ provides a space that is not of loss or gain, but of speculation and possibility. The conference provided an eloquent indication of that key idea, and further illuminated James’s own thought as he noted enigmatically in the preface to Beyond a Boundary that, “[t]o establish his own identity, Caliban, after three centuries, must himself pioneer into regions Caesar never knew”.

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