Asia has been the site of the migration of peoples, texts, and cultures since pre-modern times. These flows have came largely from the “mother” civilizations of the Arabic, Indian, and Chinese peoples and, in the modern and the transmaritime periods, from the West. Yet the movements have also come from “within.” Intra-regionally, people and texts have navigated on the borderless seascapes of Asia; and within borders, especially in Southeast Asia, center and periphery have been defined in terms of river and hill cultures. In recent times, flows have been transmedial. The paradox of Asia, as of other regions, is that it is both bordered and borderless. It is, but it is not still. It is a reality in translation.
Given this context, the conference focuses on the translation of texts (but also their mistranslations or untranslatability, Rafael 2013), the migrations and diffusions of texts, and the discourses on translation and translational exchange in Asia. It will include “real” translations between discrete cultures and different semiotic systems (as classified by Roman Jacobson in 1959), but its larger rubric is cultural translation, in the sense that Clifford (1986, 1988) used it, encompassing the development of multiple and multilayered identities in the crossing or transgressing of borders in both physical and conceptual spaces.
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