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GCSC KNL | After Hybridity: Grafting as a Model of Cultural Translation


May 31, 2022 from 06:30 to 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


GCSC (MFR) & Online

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"All translation" states Walter Benjamin in his essay The Task of the Translator Walter Benjamin, "is only a somewhat provisional way of coming to terms with the foreignness of languages". The notion of cultural translation as it was developed by postcolonial studies attempts to cope not only with the foreignness of language, but also with 'the other' as a foreigner. In order to come to terms for the various interferences that occur in the course of processes of cultural translation,' Homi Bhabha and other postcolonial theorists have conceptualized interactions between different cultures on the one hand as an "activity of displacement within the linguistic sign", on the other hand as processes of hybridization.


I would like to propose an alternative model for describing processes of cultural translation, namely the model of grafting that has been used not only by Jacques Derrida as a metaphor for textual cut and paste operations, but also by Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Schleiermacher for the purpose of coming to terms with the foreignness of other languages as well as other cultures. Hence, one focus of my talk will be, in which sense grafting can also count as an activity of displacement in the interaction of different languages and cultures.

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// Prof. Dr. Uwe Wirth (JLU) holds the chair for German Literature and Cultural Theory at the German Department at the Justus Liebig University Giessen since 2007. From 2005 until 2007 he was the scientific coordinator at the Center for Advanced Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL) in Berlin. In his dissertation, he addressed topics such as the theories of humor and stupidity (published 1999 under the title Diskursive Dummheit: Abduktion und Komik als Grenzphänomen des Verstehens, [Discursive Stupidity: Abduction and Comic as Border Phenomena of Understanding, 1999]. In his 'habilitation', he reconstructed the central role of editorial fiction in German literature 'around 1800' (published by the Fink Verlag under the title: Die Geburt des Autors aus dem Geist der Herausgeberfiktion. Editoriale Rahmung im Roman um 1800: Wieland, Goethe, Brentano, Jean Paul und E.T.A. Hoffmann [The Birth of the Author from the Spirit of Editorial Fiction. Editorial framing in the novel around the year 1800: Wieland, Goethe, Brentano, Jean Paul and E.T.A. Hoffmann]. His current research interest is the concept of grafting as a model for intercultural relationships as well as a metaphor of inscription and quotation. A monography on this topic will be published 2023 in the Fischer-Verlag.