|General programme, activity sheet|
||Monday 27 June, 2016 15:40 to 16:00
Translation and Politics – The Discovery of Walter Benjamin in ChinaSpeaker: Nannan Liu, University of Mainz
Authors: Nannan Liu
This paper will scrutinise the (re)translation and reception of Walter Benjamin's work in China. It aims to explore the entanglement of politics and translation in a particular framework.
Benjamin has been discovered by the Chinese “knowledge class” in the 1980s. Since then he has been adopted and re-discovered by a broad readership in China. In 1989 the first translation of his work Charles Baudelaire - Ein Lyriker im Zeitalter des Hochkapitalismus was published. This book was retranslated in 2005. One year later another translation was published. All of these three different translations were regularly reissued and reprinted and therefore were widely available since their first publication. The question arises, under which (particular) conditions Benjamin and his work were introduced to a Chinese audience? In which circumstances has his work been translated and retranslated? How different (or not) are these translations? What agency do the translators have offering their translations? What discourses have been surrounding each of these translations? How far have these translations – accompanied by the surrounding discourses – been guiding and steering their recipients in reading Benjamin differently?
In trying to answer these questions I would like to shed light on how translation works in transferring and transplanting theoretical texts. This study however will not delineate translation as something per se political, but will focus on the potential of translation to become political. It aims to recall and remember the social and political relevance of translation in our societies in order to deal with it more consciously and more responsibly.
Nannan Liu studied German Studies and History of Art at Peking University, China as well as Translation Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. She currently is a member of the funded postgraduate programme “Politik der Translation” established at the University of Mainz. Her main research interests include translation theories, translation of philosophy and politics of translation.
Place: Room 5