eipcp Projects Europe as a Translational Space: The Politics of ... Conference

Loredana Polezzi

Disrupting Europe: polylingual models and common selves

Starting from alternative representations of the Mediterranean and of the different kinds of mobility which have marked its history, the paper will examine the way in which polylingual practices such as translation and self-translation can disrupt current models of Europe and of European hierarchies. I will ask questions about Europe as periphery (as well as about Europe’s peripheries) and examine the way in which linguistic and geographical mobility can provide an alternative model to the still dominant myth of the continent as a cluster of homogeneous communities characterised by the overlapping of recognizable (and containable) national identities, languages and cultures. If we reverse the balance and take mobility as a model rather than an exception, then translation has to be understood not as a neutral tool or a conciliatory gesture aiming to facilitate communication and mutual understanding, but as a self-conscious, politically and ethically aware practice, and also a crucial location where issues of biopolitical control are played out. The final question I want to ask, then, is whether translation and its potential for critical disruption can also help us re-build a sense of European common self as well as, possibly, of common sense.

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Loredana Polezzi
is Associate Professor (Reader) in Italian Studies at the University of Warwick (UK). Her main research interests are in translation studies and the history of travel writing. Her work focuses on how geographical and social mobilities are connected to the theories and practices of translation and self-translation. She is the author of Translating Travel: Contemporary Italian Travel Writing in English Translation (2001) and co-editor of Borderlines: Migrazioni e identità nel Novecento (2003) and In Corpore: Bodies in Post-Unification Italy (2007). She guest-edited a special issue of The Translator devoted to ‘Translation, Travel, Migration’ (Autumn 2006).