BCLA Postgraduate Conference: Alternatives

BCLA Postgraduate Conference: Alternatives: Translation and the (Anti-) Canon
24-25 April 2014, University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews

In collaboration with Scottish PEN

Including Workshops in Translation and Creative Writing


Dr Robin MacKenzie, BCLA Executive Committee Member and Treasurer, University of St Andrews

Speaker invited by Scottish PEN, TBA 

Workshop Leaders:

Dr Elizabeth Reeder, Novelist and Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow

Peter Manson, Glasgow-based Poet and Translator

Dr Samuel Tongue, Poet and Winner of Scottish New Writers Award

Dr Georgina Collins, Course Convener of Translation Studies at the University of Glasgow

* Extended deadline: 10 March 2014.

Call for Papers

In literary studies, the term ‘canon’ has become not only a point of reference but also of separation. The canon, the body of text creating a culture, is afflicted by conflicting tendencies: one calling for a unified, limited body of text, enabling the scholar to gain in-depth knowledge; the other striving to open up the corpus, including for example literature by women writers and marginal texts. Conflicting canonicity is mirrored in academic reading lists: one reading list might be limited to works originally published in English whilst another might include translated texts. The curriculum for Comparative or World Literature courses is even more diverse. The contentious idea of the canon has been put under scrutiny, yet alternative classifications and assessments are not readily available. The contribution of literature in translation, both as part of Comparative and World Literature courses, puts canon-formation to a test and reflects its multifaceted process.

Leading on from Michel Foucault’s theory of genealogical historical processes, translation can be understood as offering an alternative model of literary theory and history, with the history of translation theory and practice at the centre of literary production. Translations of canonical texts foster a culture in the target language; translations of marginal texts become canonical in the target culture. Translated texts can form an anti-canon as well as undermine an established canon. Translation opens up new possibilities and different ways to read and study literature.

We welcome papers from any discipline that engage with canon-formation, alternative readings of the canon and anti-canonical approaches to literature through and in translation. We also invite contributions from fields including visual arts, theatre studies, music and creative writing. We intend to publish papers from this conference.

Subjects may include, but are not limited to:

  • canon and canons
  • the history of translation
  • minor languages and translation
  • publishing and censorship
  • philosophy of canon formation
  • power struggles
  • translation as an alternative to the original
  • the politics of translation
  • untranslated canons
  • translation from lost languages
  • pedagogy of literature

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. In addition to paper presentations, the conference will offer workshops in translation and creative writing, both poetry and prose, run by novelist Elizabeth Reeder, published poets Peter Manson and Samuel Tongue and translation lecturer Georgina Collins.

Submissions should include title, an abstract of no more than 250 words, three to five keywords indicating the subject area, name, email address, institutional affiliation, year of study and technical requirements for the presentation. Submissions should be sent to: bcla.alternatives@gmail.com.

Deadline for submission of proposals for individual papers or panels: 1 March 2014.

Download the call for papers for the BCLA Postgraduate Conference: Alternatives: Translation and the (Anti-)Canon, or for more detail and updates, see the Facebook event pages for 24 April and 25 April.