Translation, Power and Politics: Call for papers

3rd Symposium on Literary Translation and Contemporary Iberia:

Translation, Power and Politics

Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Lisbon, 22-23 November 2018


The 3rd Symposium on Literary Translation and Contemporary Iberia aims at bringing together scholars and researchers in the field of Translation Studies (and related areas) working with the Iberian languages. Following the two previous events organized at University College Cork (2016) and Dublin City University (2017), the third edition of the Symposium will reflect upon the relationship between different dynamics of power and movements/gestures of translation in the Iberian Peninsula throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. As a starting point for the debate, we propose the topic “Translation, politics and power”.

Firstly, and following on Spivak’s seminal text “Politics of Translation” (1998), we will question the role of the translator as perpetuator/ informer/opponent of relations of domination and, amongst these, of both the colonialist and the democratizing potential of linguae francae. If we accept, with Spivak, that translation is an intimate act with the source text, can the (good) translator do something other than surrender to the rhetoric of the original? And what source and target languages are there (effectively) in the Iberian publishing market? To what extent do translation policies build and sustain notions of majority (s) and minority (s)?

On the other hand, we will claim that the history of the 20th and 21st centuries in Portugal and Spain can also be read through the (history of) publishing in both countries, namely of translated literature. In fact, creating catalogues of translated literature on both sides of the border might reveal multiple and undisclosed forms of interaction between translation and contemporary powers (political, economic, ideological or others). As such, possible questions to debate would be: How is the current political situation in the two Iberian countries reflected in translation? What is the role of translation in the major public debates that have taken place in Portugal and Spain around topics such as memory, the financial crisis, Catalonia, Europe or war? Lastly, and considering that no translation agent is ever neutral, we also invite submissions of historically grounded studies that look at translators from/in the Iberian Peninsula as active agents taking part in the dialogue between political structures and translation.


Papers on the following topics are welcome:

Apolitical rewritings by political authors (and vice versa)

Languages, politics and power(s)

Different directions in translation

Translators and politics

Peripheries and centrality in literary translation

Power and empowerment

Power, control and resistance

(Official) politics of translation

Translation and war

Translation and ideology

Translation and power in the digital age

Translation, gender and power

Translating in dictatorship, translating in democracy

Translating political ideas

Translation and the Church.


Keynote speakers (to be confirmed)

Isabel Soler, Universidade de Barcelona

Speakers should prepare for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a brief biographical note (100 words) and a 250-word abstract to Inês Espada Vieira and Rita Bueno Maia

Proposals should list paper title, name, institutional affiliation and contact details.


Deadline for submission of proposals: 27 June 2018

Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection: 27 July 2018

The conference languages are Portuguese, Spanish and English.


Participants – 35€

The registration fee includes coffee breaks and lunches on the two days of the Symposium, as well as conference documentation.



By bank transfer:

NIB: 003300000017013412105

IBAN: PT50 0033 0000 0017 0134 1210 5



By cheque made out to:

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

and sent to:

Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura

a/c Elisabete Carvalho

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Faculdade de Ciências Humanas

Palma de Cima

1649-023 Lisboa Portugal


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