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Call for Papers

Special Issue: Translating Transnational Feminisms

Co-edited by Erin K. Krafft and Caroline De Souza

Abstracts Due: May 15, 2023

Full Papers Due: July 15, 2023

In this special issue for The Journal of Feminist Scholarship, we will explore the integral position of translation as a tool for both local and transnational feminist solidarities. Beginning with the understanding that transnational feminist solidarities rely on not only linguistic translation, but also cultural fluencies that allow for exchange rather than simply the import or export of locally-bound feminist praxis, this special issue will examine the multiple meanings of translation that must be considered given the multiple meanings and practices of feminism within and across communities and regions.

As Bracke, Bullock, Morris and Schulz write in their introduction to Translating Feminism: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text, Place and Agency (2021):

"…translation in all its forms has been absolutely central to the ways in which feminism has evolved. Indeed, we propose, it is the actual, imagined, or literary encounter with the ‘other woman’ – with someone situated in a society or culture that is perceived as significantly different to one’s own – that stimulates the desire for a transformed womanhood and makes possible the imagining of a radically different gender order. Moreover, it is by understanding feminism and translation in relation to each other over time – a history of feminism through its transnational, translingual, and transcultural encounters – that a differently shaped account emerges that is sensitive to the diversity of feminism and revealing of a wider range of actors and contexts." (29)

This view of translation – as more than simply a linguistic endeavor and instead a practice of inscribing collectively-built visions of feminist world-making into practices of solidarity – also suggests that these encounters across boundaries often require translations that are not solely linguistic, and instead reckon with the legibility of feminisms that are both adjacent and simultaneously positioned so differently in relation to structures of oppression that solidarities are threatened. In other words, how do we navigate signifiers that may contain radically different – or even contradictory – ideas and states of being and knowing? As bell hooks writes in Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981), “[t]hroughout American history, the racial imperialism of whites has supported the custom of scholars using the term ‘women’ even if they are referring solely to the experience of white women” (8), so it becomes clear that even within a single language, acts of translation and resignification must be performed.

Translations across languages and also within languages may be differently fraught, but are fraught nonetheless, and acknowledging the disparate meanings that “translation” may entail is ultimately an important step in deconstructing the boundaries inherent in both local and transnational narratives of “us versus them” that threaten solidarity. This special issue, then, approaches the concepts of both “translation” and “feminism” via the acknowledgement that both are embodied in multiple ways whenever solidarity across boundaries is sought, and welcomes submissions that address the feminist practice of translation from multiple angles.

Topics of interest include:

  • Examinations of feminist translation methodologies that must consider the translation from not only source to target language, but also source to target understandings of gender, sexuality, and feminist analysis
  • Translations across asymmetrical power hierarchies and strategies for a feminist and decolonial translation practice
  • Translation as counter-hegemonic
  • The import and export of language relating to gender, sexuality, and feminism: its local uses and new lives and meanings
  • Analyses of translations of feminist texts
  • Examinations of the transit and influence of feminist texts across local and transnational boundaries
  • The translations that must occur when feminisms are divided by a common language: how do we deconstruct and navigate common words that carry multiple meanings?
  • Critical deconstructions of grassroots and/or state/institutional uses of language relating to gender, sexuality, and feminism
  • The evolution of signifiers related to gender, sexuality, and feminism, and the ways in which those signifiers represent changing political, economic, and cultural norms
  • Analyses of translations of feminist texts
  • Language reclamation as feminist practice

Please send abstracts of 400-500 words, 3-5 relevant citations, and a brief CV to Erin Krafft and Caroline De Souza by May 15, 2023.