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Normativity and Resilience in Translation and Culture

Normativity and Resilience in Translation and Culture

Normativity and Resilience
in Translation and Culture
27-29 May 2019 Warsaw

Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Norms can be broadly defined as some kind of protection from change, a prescribed standard whose violation involves distortion and deformation, a transformation into something which the normal thing is not. Though derived from carpentry, the art of construction of rigid objects (norma is the Latin word for carpenter's square), normativity has become a measure of things more evanescent than furniture – of ethical, social, aesthetic or political judgements, of certain cultural norms which may seem to be universal only given that they survive the test of being transferred, or translated, to other cultures. If, as Yuri Lotman noted in his Universe of the Mind (1990), “the elementary act of thinking is translation” (143), then translation can be viewed as a crucial activity involved in the formation of cultures along with their concepts, conceptualizations and norms. However, since translation, as a kind of dialogue, is inevitably asymmetrical and assumes only “a degree invariancy” (143), this degree seems to be an effect of culture’s resilience to the inadequacy and change involved in any kind of translation. Paradoxically, it is the change, the rupturing of the norm in and through translation which is a constitutive element of normativity. This “rupturing of the norm,” wrote Lotman, “is what builds up the image of the truly essential but unrealized norm” (90). Thus normativity is both a matter of representation and something which may be called a feature of the world, the latter possibility figuring as an unrealizable effect of broadly understood translation which simultaneously protects and disrupts it. Looking at the ideas of norm and normativity in culture in the context of translation we would like to think about various locations of what may be called normative ‘ought’ statements, sometimes implicitly dictating our choices of words and ideas; the quiet demands of discourse to retain norms despite various perturbations. The ‘ought’ statements of normativity, of retaining the norm, seem to be an important aspect of management of resistance whose significant function is, as Judith Butler claims in Vulnerability in Resistance, concealment of destitution (8). The ‘ought’ of resilience has become not only the desired good of neoliberalism, but also, as she puts it, “a force to be reckoned within the realm of hegemonic ethics of and truths about the self” (53). One of the tasks of the conference is to attempt, at least provisionally, to locate the whereabouts of such ‘ought’ statements, the teachings of imaginary security and certainty consisting in the ability of jumping into prior shape.

We invite papers and presentations approaching the issues of translation, normativity and resilience from possibly broadest theoretical and methodological perspectives such as Translation Studies, Linguistics, Literary Criticism, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Feminist and Gender Studies, Queer Theory, Philosophy, Sociology, History of Ideas, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies ..., realizing that a strictly single-disciplinary approach is nowadays hardly thinkable. We suggest the following, broad, thematic suggestions as a map showing a few orientation points of the conference:

  • Resilience as adaptation
  • Norm and nature
  • Normativity and originality
  • Normativity and creativity
  • Normalcy and creativity
  • Normative translation
  • Normativity and ethics
  • Norm and its others
  • Language of the norm
  • Normativity and meaning
  • Limits of normativity
  • Normal / accepted
  • Rules / norms / idiosyncrasy
  • Rules / norms / transgressions
  • Adherence / infringement / violation
  • Resilience / conformity
  • Resilience / immunity
  • Resilience vs. resistance
  • Normative modification
  • Resilience and standardization
  • Resilience and empowerment
  • Resilience and retaliation
  • Norm as domination
  • Resilience and change
  • Prescriptive vs. normative
  • Normality and monstrosity
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Resilience and plasticity
  • Resilience as vulnerability
  • Uncertainty and norm
  • Control and resilience
  • Translation and adaptation
  • Translation and change
  • Cultures in translation
  • Resilience as recovery
  • Normativity, resilience, survival


Keynote Speakers

Professor Tomasz Basiuk
University of Warsaw, Poland

Professor Luise von Flotow
University of Ottawa, Canada

Professor Xuanmin Luo
Guangxi University and Tsinghua University, China

Professor David Malcolm
SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland

Proposals for 20-minute papers (ca 250 words) should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 10 March 2019. We also encourage panel proposals comprised of 3 to 4 papers, and an additional 100-150 words explaining how they are interlinked in addressing the panel theme.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 March 2019.

The registration will open on 15 March 2019.

The deadline for registration and payment of the conference fee: 15 April 2019.

Participants will be invited to submit extended versions of their presentations to be published in an edited volume.

The conference fee is PLN 590 | EUR 140 | USD 160 for all participants.

Conference organisers:
  • Dr.  Agnieszka Pantuchowicz
  • Dr.  Anna Warso
  • Dr. Emma Oki
  • Dr. Paulina Grzęda
  • Katarzyna Bagniewska
  • Piotr Kosiński


Professor Tomasz Basiuk
University of Warsaw, Poland

Poland’s Proto-Political Queers and Their Literary Models: Revisiting the 1970s and 80s

The Polish LGBT movement is usually seen as a post-Cold War development. This temporal perspective inevitably presents the movement as belated in relation to its Western counterparts. A crucial intervention has questioned this approach as oversimplifying the local LGBT history (Mizielińska and Kulpa 2011), while other scholars have pointed to an outburst of activism in Poland in the second half of the 1980s (Fiedotow 2012) and to transnational cultural transfers that played a significant role also prior to the post-1989 transition (Szulc 2018). However, less has been said about Polish queer culture in the 1970s and early 80s. A research project “Cruising the Seventies: unearthing pre-HIV/AIDS queer sexual cultures” (2016-2019) partly fills this lacuna by turning to the archive, including epistolography, and to oral history interviews.

Polish queer culture in the 1970s and early 80s may be understood as an emerging social and discursive network sustained by two major factors: the resilience of previously existing informal institutions and forms of expression, many of them rooted in the interwar period, and contemporary cultural production encompassing literary translations and other cultural transfers. I will briefly illustrate the emergence of a proto-political formation which preceded the concept of a politicized gay identity by drawing on oral history interviews and on letters exchanged between early activists, especially by discussing the repeatedly invoked importance of some literary models for queer self-identity and self-expression. I will reference works by James Baldwin and contrast them with an overtly conservative model offered by Henry de Montherland.

Tomasz Basiuk has published and taught courses on queer studies since the late 1990s. He is a founding co-editor of InterAlia: a queer studies journal and is currently PI in the HERA-funded project “Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures.” He is the author of Exposures. American Gay Men’s Life Writing since Stonewall (2013) and co-editor of several volumes of essays on queer studies, gender studies, and public memory.


Professor Luise von Flotow
University of Ottawa, Canada

Feminist and Gender-aware Perspectives on Breaking Norms: Creativity and Beyond

The Call for Papers defines norms as “some kind of protection from change, a prescribed standard whose violation involves distortion and deformation.” This is a nicely drastic formulation of the effects that norms can have on language, on self-expression, on writing and publishing, and therefore also on translation. While not all norms may have the purpose or the effect of “protecting from – or prohibiting – change,” there have been studies enough in our field of Translation Studies (esp. Toury and commentators) that emphasize their importance: in terms of what is selected for translation, what kind of translation is undertaken, how much censorship or adaptation is considered necessary, and so on.

My presentation will look at the question of norms in translation from the perspective of feminist and gender-aware writing and translating. Early work in this area, work that actually caused the term ‘feminist translation’ to be coined in the late 1980s, derived precisely from source texts that broke the norms of writing and publishing in the source language. The creativity this engendered will be one focus.

More recently, the rapid increase in academic publishing in English – which has become a ‘norm’ of sorts – is raising many other issues that affect feminist and gender-aware work: should dominant English terms such as ‘gender’ or ‘queer’ or ‘gender queer’ be translated when these materials go abroad? And can they even be translated? What does it mean when they are translated? Is this the way to ‘transnational feminism? – a new buzzword.

I will refer to Cassin’s Dictionnaire de l’intraduisible (2004) in this regard but also to a current project, The Routledge Handbook on Translation, Feminism and Gender (forthcoming), to examine this question – with examples from Hindi, Arabic and beyond.

Luise von Flotow has taught Translation Studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada since 1996. Her main research interests have focused on feminist and gender issues in translation, translation as cultural diplomacy, and audio-visual translation. Publications include articles and books authored and edited in these areas. Most recently: Por casualidad y otras razones: traduccion y diffusion de la literatura, la dramaturgia y el cine de Canada en Latinoamerica, eds. Marc Charron, Luise von Flotow and Claudia Lucotti, Bonilla-Artigas Editores, 2018; Translating Women, Different Voices and New Horizons, eds. Luise von Flotow and Farzaneh Farhazad, Routledge 2017; Translation Effects: The Making of Contemporary Canadian Culture and Translation, ed. with Kathy Mezei and Sherry Simon, McGill Queens UP 2014; Translating Women, ed. University of Ottawa Press 2011; Translating Canada. Charting the Institutions and Influences of Cultural Transfer. Canadian Writing in German/y. eds. Luise von Flotow and Reingard Nischik, University of Ottawa Press 2007; Translation and Gender. Translation in the 'Era of Feminism’ St. Jerome Publishing and University of Ottawa Press 1997.

She is also a literary translator, working mainly from German and French to English. Recent publications include: They Divided the Sky. Re-translation of Der geteilte Himmel, by Christa Wolf, 1963, University of Ottawa Press, 2013; Everyone Talks About the Weather. We Don’t. ed. Karin Bauer. Political columns by Ulrike Meinhof, annotation and introduction by Karin Bauer, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2008; Life is a Carawanserai. Has Two Doors. I Came In One. I Went Out The Other, translation of Das Leben ist eine Karawanserai. Hat zwei Türen. Aus einer kam ich rein. Aus der anderen ging ich raus, by Emine Sevgi Özdamar (London, Middlesex University Press, 2000), and The Four Roads Hotel, tr. of France Théoret`s L’hôtel aux quatre chemins, Toronto, Guernica Editions, 2017; The Stalinist’s Wife, tr. of France Théoret’s La femme du stalinien, Toronto Guernica Editions, 2013; Such a Good Education, tr. of France Theoret’s Une belle éducation, Toronto, Cormorant Press, 2010.

The most recent translation is Tout le monde parle de la pluie et du beau temps. Pas nous! the French translation of Everybody Talks About the Weather. We Don't! (ed. Karin Bauer 2008), 2018 at Editions Remue-ménage, Montreal, in collaboration with Isabelle Totikaev.


Professor Xuanmin Luo
Guangxi University and Tsinghua University, China

Intralingual Translation and the Construction of Modern Chinese Vernacular

Intralingual translation (or rewriting), a term proposed by Roman Jacobson, is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same languages. It is, however, a rarely approached subject. There was a group of scholars who were making constant efforts in the investigation of Intralingual translation studies and held an international symposium in Turkey in 2015. In general, scholars discussed issues like the nature and scope of intralingual translation. By now two functions of Intralingual translation have been touched upon : 1) To paraphrase so as to achieve an easy way for understanding, or rewriting for another source language, for example, children’s version of a classic text (J. Munday); 2) To be used as a preliminary step for translation of classical texts or texts in special genres, e.g. a Chinese classical poem to be transformed into a modern prose ( Yang Zijian). The author has ventured to propose a third function of Intralingual translation, 3) To be used as a reformation of national language and literature especially during a transitional period of a nation’s development, e.g. to put a Chinese novel in dialect into a modern Chinese vernacular, which can be shared by the great majority of the nation rather than a small community or region. This action, in the long run, can enrich a nation’s language and literature. According to the author, the three functions of intralingual translation above may be hierarchical:the more functions have been involved, the more important role the translation has played in the construction of national modernity.

LUO Xuanmin, PhD, Junwu Scholar Professor and Dean of Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies of Guangxi University, and Director, Center for Translation and Interdisciplinary Studies of Tsinghua University. He was Asia Scholar Professor at University of Melbourne from 2016 to 2018. He is President of China Association of Comparative Studies in English and Chinese (CACSEC) since 2014, and Editor-in-Chief of Routledge’s journal Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies, and Interdisciplinary Translation Studies by Tsinghua University Press. He is the Council Member of both Australia Research Council (ARC) and (Hong Kong’s) University Grant Committee (UGC). He received fellowships from American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Salzburg Global Seminar, and Summer Research Fellowship from Cambridge University, Fulbright Research Fellowship, etc. His publications include books and translations in various presses and articles in various journals at home and abroad. His recent publications are the translation of Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming American Dream, Walter Kasper’s God of Jesus Christ, William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Antonio and Cleopatra, and two English collections of Translation Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach by Foreign Literature Press in China and Translating China by Multilingual Matters Ltd in UK. His monograph Translation and Chinese Modernity (2017) is being translated into three languages: Russia, English and Korean, under the National Project for Translation which was supported by China National Foundation for Humanities and Social Science.


Professor David Malcolm
SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland

Functional Interactions of Norm and Deviance in Contemporary British Verse

The interplay (see Ludwig [2005]) of adherence to norms and deviance from them has long been a concern of studies of poetry (for example, in the work of Jan Mukařovský and Geoffrey N. Leech). More recent examples include: Attridge (1995), Steele (1999), Duffell (2008), and Fabb and Halle (2008). This paper argues that poetry means through such interactions, and it discusses adherence and deviance on three levels: that of kind and genre; that of layout and graphological features; and that of rhythm and phonology. Discussion will focus on the work of contemporary British poets, including that of James Fenton, Mimi Khalvati, Alice Oswald, Don Paterson, Peter Riley, Peter Russell, Robert Sheppard, and Anne Stevenson. Martin Duffell (2008) remarks that “The same thing happened to metre in the twentieth century as to marriage: short-term relationships, between both lines and people, gradually superseded enduring ones. If metre had previously been a contract between poet and reader that lasted until the expiry of the poem, it was now a bargain to be revoked in the interests of variety.” This paper explores a range of such bargains, the reciprocity between sécurité and surprise, within what Apollinaire calls “cette longue querelle de la tradition et de l’invention / De l’Ordre et de l’Aventure,” and how such interlocution is semantically charged.

David Malcolm teaches at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. He has edited and co-edited six volumes of essays on verse, and has published on British and Irish fiction and short fiction. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, 1960-2015.



Click to download the conference programme.


Registration opens on March 15 and closes on April 15, 2019. The conference fee is PLN 590 | EUR 140 | USD 160 and covers coffee breaks, and lunches.

All participants are cordially invited to join us for the conference dinner on May 27 (Monday). The dinner will be held in a restaurant in the heart of the city center and a pleasant walking distance from Warsaw’s picturesque Old Town. You will have the option to sign up for the conference dinner as you register. The cost of the dinner is PLN 150 | EUR 35 | USD 40.

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& Accommodation


SWPS budynek

The conference venue will be located in the main building of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, ul. Chodakowska 19/31, Warsaw.

Accommodation Recommendations

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Hotel Hetman
Hotel Hetman is conveniently located on the east side of the Vistula river, less than 10 minutes by tram from the conference venue.
Please book before 15 April at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Polonia Palace Hotel
Polonia Palace Hotel offers newly renovated rooms and excellent service.
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Hotel Castle Inn
Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Castle Inn is a charming hotel with uniquely furnished interiors.
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OkiDoki Hostel
A lively hostel with a variety of private rooms, right in the city center.
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ApartHostel Warszawa
Pleasant, modern and conveniently located.
Please book before 31 March at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hit Hotel
Hit Hotel offers standard accommodation just a short tram ride from the conference venue.
Please book before 15 April at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sport Hostel
Affordable hostel located in front of the university building.
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& Photos

Conference Posters

norma11a norma v1a biały

Conference posters in PDF 1 and 2

Conference Photos