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“Words that Hide: Rendering the Untranslatable Across the Globe”

March 5, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Speaker: Tomislav Longinović, Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature and Visual Culture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

As global subjectivity becomes increasingly dominated by communication across languages and cultures, as well as between geographical and virtual spaces, the universe emerging among the interacting economies is characterized by processes of translation that alter the simplified imaginary perceptions of “others” that are currently built into the cultural unconscious of particular national imaginaries. Translation is understood here not only as a practice that transfers meaning in the narrow linguistic sense of the word, but also as the process by which broader social and political formations are carried over from one culture to another. The untranslatable notions tied to particular civilizational heritage are especially challenging in this process, since issues of mutual comprehension become charged with perceptions of unequal power in the ongoing global crises and the resulting violence. The seminar will use the innovative methodology of cultural translation to analyze this phenomenon by calling for a new conceptualization of trauma, space and identity, especially during the ongoing migrant crisis affecting the Europe in general and the Balkan peninsula in particular.

Tomislav Longinović (PhD, MFA) is Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include South Slavic literatures and cultures; literary theory; Central and East European literary history; comparative Slavic studies; translation studies; cultural studies. He is currently working on the book manuscript entitled The Secret of Translation, which features a theory of culture based on relational structures rather than ethnic or national ones.

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


March 5, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


212 University Club Building
432 E. Campus Mall
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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