Call for papers

International Conference: A Translational Approach to National Cultures (15-16 October, 2021)



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Submission deadline

With the acceleration of the globalization process over the last decades, the understanding of translations as privileged forms of cultural interference has constantly advanced. Rather than an organic construct, every national literature represents, in fact, a “complex tangle of relations” (Wai Chee Dimock 2006) that far exceeds autochthonous associations.

The representatives of the two theoretical schools that have considered the importance of translations for literary studies, World Literature Studies and Translation Studies, have insisted in the past few decades on the crucial shaping mechanism of translations. In the wake of Goethe’s observation that national literatures exhaust their resources if they refuse contact with other cultures, the translation of European novels has disrupted and fertilized the literary traditions of Egypt, Turkey, Japan, China (Damrosch 2014). Translations have also refashioned presumed powerful organic constructs like the Spanish, the French or the Italian literatures: researchers of national cultures have often acknowledged this complex exchange process, noting that “between 1800 and 1850 the Spanish novel is being written in France” (Martí-López, 1995), that the same period lends itself to “a history of the novel in Italy without mentioning Italian novels” (de Meijer 1984), or that important authors such as Flaubert or Zola owe more to translations than traditionally acknowledged (Lambert, Dʼhulst, van Bragt 1985).

In spite of the above-mentioned observations that insist on the decisive role of translations in the construction of national literatures, a translational approach to national cultures is absent from recent research. Literary histories of national literatures, built on the premise of the Herderian organicism, ignore the problem of translation, considered irrelevant to the evolution of internal literary forms.Although addressing the problem of translation, literary studies indebted to World Literature and “spatial turn” theories focus more on transnational exchanges than on how translations have influenced national literatures (see M. J. Valdes, D. Kadir, Literary Cultures of Latin America, 2004; Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer, History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries, vol I-IV, 2004-2010; Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza, Anxo Abuin Gonzales, Cesar Dominguez, A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, 2010).

Our project looks at translation as a basic shaping element of contemporary global culture and argues for a translational model of literary histories.By employing concepts such as “cultural mobility” (Stephen Greenblatt) or “cosmopolitan imagination” (Gerard Delanty), recent literary studies envisage the elaboration of a dynamic framework of understanding literature, which should take into account the context of global communication. These inter-literary exchanges – translation being the most visible symptom – are not exclusive to transnational spaces, but influence the internal dynamics of national literatures as well.

Therefore, our conference invites reflection on the impact of translations on national cultures. Its aim is to bring together perspectives from different sociocultural environments and historical backgrounds that shed light on this process.

Perspectives on the above mentioned topic may include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between Translation Studies and literary histories
  • The general impact of translations on national cultures in different epochs or regions of the world
  • Translation as political or cultural strategy
  • The hegemonic relationships between so-called core and semi(peripheral)cultures
  • The role of translation in emergent literatures (innovatory/conservatory; didactic, informative, entertaining or subversive etc)
  • The dynamic between target and source cultures
  • The morphology of different literary genres/subgenres in relation to the impact of translations
  • Defining literary periods in relation to the position (central or marginal) of translations within the national literary circuit
  • The relationship between translations and other literary interferences
  • Quantitative studies and the systematic study of translations

Suggested references:

  • Baer, Brian James (2011): Contexts, Subtexts and Pretexts. Literary translation in Eastern Europe and Russia, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam.
  • Bassnett, Susan; Lefevere, André (1998) Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation, Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Baghiu, Ștefan (2016) “Translating Novels in Romania: The Age of Socialist Realism.” In Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai. Philologia 61.1.
  • Baghiu, Ștefan (2019) „Translating Hemispheres: Eastern Europe and the Global South Connection through Translationscapes of Poverty” in Comparative Literature Studies, 56.3.
  • Bode, Katherine (2014) Reading by Numbers. London: Anthem Press.
  • Casanova, Pascale (2004) The World Republic of Letters. Cambridge Harvard University Press.
  • Cotter, Sean: Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania, University of Rochester Press, Rochester-New York, 2014.
  • Damrosch, David (2014) “Translation and National Literature”. In Sandra Bermann, Catherine Porter (eds.), A Companion to Translation Studies. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Dimock, Wai Chee (2006) American Literature across Deep Time. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Even-Zohar, Itamar (1990) “Polysystem Studies.” In Poetics Today, vol. 11, no. 1.
  • Goldiș, Alex (2018) “Between Transnationalism and Nation Building: Literary History as Geolocation” (chapter), in M. Martin, C. Moraru, A. Terian (eds.), Romanian Literature as World Literature New York, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.
  • Jockers, Matthew L. (2013) Macroanalysis. Digital Methods & Literary History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  • Juvan, Marko (2019), Worlding a Peripheral Literature, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lambert, José, Dʼhulst, Lieven, van Bragt, Katrin (1985) Translated Literature in France, 1800-1850. In Theo Hermans, The Manipulation of Literature. Routledge: London.
  • Martí-López, Elisa (1995) La orfandad de la novela española. In Bulletin Hispanique, vol. 98, no. 2
  • de Meijer, Pieter (1984) La prosa narrativa moderna. Ed. Alberto Asor Rosa, Letteratura italiana. La prosa. Torino: Einaudi.
  • Rosendahl Thomsen, Mads (2008) Mapping World Literature. London: Continuum.
  • Moraru, Christian (2015) Reading for the Planet: Toward a Geomethodology. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
  • Moretti, Franco (ed.) (2005) The Novel, Princeton University Press.
  • Reiss, Katharina, Vermeer Hans J. (2014), Towards a General Theory of Translational Action. Routledge: London.
  • Sapiro, Gisèle (ed.) (2008) Translatio. Le Marché de la traduction en France à l’heure de la mondialisation. CNRS éditions: Paris.
  • Sapiro, Gisèle (2015) “Translation and Symbolic Capital in the Era of Globalization: French Literature in the United States“, in Cultural Sociology Vol. 9(3), 320–346. 
  • Sapiro, Gisèle (ed.) (2012) Traduire la littérature et les sciences humaines. Conditions et obstacles. Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication: Paris.
  • Terian, Andrei (2013) “National Literature, World Literatures and Universality in Romanian in Cultural Criticism 1867-1947.” In CLCWeb – Comparative Literature and Culture 15, no. 5.
  • Terian, Andrei (2019) “Big Numbers: A Quantitative Analysis of the Novel in Romania” in Transylvanian Review, vol. XXVIII, supplement 1.

Keynote speakers:

Gisèle Sapiro, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

Gabriela SALDANHA, University of Birmingham

Christian Moraru, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (guest on-site)

Sean Cotter, University of Texas at Dallas

Paper submission:

Please submit your paper proposal to, including: your name and affiliation, a paper title, a 150 words proposal with 5 key words, and a 100 words bio-note.

Submission deadline: September 15, 2021

Acceptance Notice: September 20, 2021


Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Horea str. 31

Registration and fees

Due to the Co-vid 19 situation, the conference will take place online with a part of the guests on-site.

  • Regular registration fee: 20 euros. Registration fee for PhD students and early-career researchers under 2610 euros
  • The payment link is available between October 1 and October 8:

Organizers and Board:

The Conference is organized by members of the project The Role of the Translated Novel in the Romanian Literary System. A Quantitative Approach, funded by the UEFISCDI national programme and coordinated by the University of Babeș-Bolyai administration:

  • Alex Goldiș, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (Project leader)
  • Andrei Terian, Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu
  • Cosmin Borza, The „Sextil Pușcariu” Institute of Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca
  • Adriana Stan, The „Sextil Pușcariu” Institute of Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca
  • Claudiu Turcuș, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
  • Ștefan Baghiu, Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu

Scientific board:

  • Gabriela Saldanha, University of Birmingham
  • Jolanta Wawrzycka, Radford University
  • Ilaria Natali, The University of Florence
  • Ira Torresi, University of Bologna
  • Marko Juvan, Institute of Slovenian Literature and Literary Studies
  • Roberto Merlo, University of Turin
  • Erika Mihalycsa, Babeș-Bolyai University
  • Mihaela Ursa, Babeș-Bolyai University
  • Rareș Moldovan, Babeș-Bolyai University
  • December 2020: Call for papers released

  • September 15, 2021: Paper submission deadline

  • September 20, 2021: Acceptance Notice

  • October 1 – October 8, 2021: Registration and fees payment

  • October 15-16, 2021: International Conference: A Translational Approach to National Cultures

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