Current Call for Papers

Special Issue
Translation and LGBT+/Queer activism

Call for Papers

Guest Editors
Michela Baldo, University of Hull
Jonathan Evans, University of Portsmouth
Ting Guo, University of Exeter

This special issue will focus on the role that translation plays in global LGBT+/Queer activism. It will analyze the practices of translation as part of activism within lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual and/or allied movements, that is social movements that advocate for LGBT+ people’s rights, but it will also explore translation as part of queer activism, which emerged out of the AIDS campaigns of groups such as ACT UP and Queer Nation in the late eighties and early nineties in USA. Rather than mobilizing for the extension of legal rights to sexual minorities, queer activism has sought to undermine the reproduction of heterosexual social norms, using the concept of queer to destabilize dominant models of knowledge and power (Baer and Kaindl 2017). More specifically, queer activism, since its inception, has sought to fight the limitations perceived in the traditional identity politics of LGBT+ groups. While the queer activism of the early nineties focused more on the violence against sexual minorities, later strands of queer activism that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s developed close links with the alter-globalization movement (Shepard and Hayduk 2002), put more emphasis on antiauthoritarian, anti-capitalist practices and transnationalism (Brown 2015), and on the concept of the body, against the theoretical excesses of the first-wave white Anglo queer theory (Espineira and Bourcier 2016).

Despite the recent interest in studies of translation and activism (Baker 2006, 2015; Tymoczko 2007, 2010), testified by the coinage of the expression “activist turn” in translation studies (Wolf 2012), and the surging interest in studies on queer aspects of translation, attested by recent edited collections (Spurlin 2014; Gramling and Dutta 2016; Epstein and Gillett 2017; Baer and Kaindl 2017), queer activist translation practice is an area which remains understudied in translation and interpreting studies. While the term activist remains ‘ill-defined’ (Baker 2018: 453), we understand it here as an activity that aims for political or social change, and activist translation as translation that is undertaken as part of such an activity. Although some activist translations might be initiated by isolated individuals, activist translators are usually networked with other translators and activists in common enterprises (Tymoczko 2010), for example in the fight against war, racism, transphobia, sexism, gender violence, capitalism, environmental pollution, etc. Consequently, not all translation of queer texts or materials is activist: our focus is on translation as (part of) a political or social intervention aimed at causing change.

This issue will address the gap between research on activism in translation and queer practices of translation. It will concentrate on both how the notion of translation can inform the analysis of transnational LGBT+/Queer activism and also on how theorizations of queer can enrich studies of activist translation. We would like to ask how the idea of ‘queerness’, being a North American and European construct, has been translated in other activist scenarios outside of these geographical areas (Domínguez Ruvalcaba 2016). By investigating global approaches to the intersections between queer, translation and activism, we expect the special issue to deepen understandings of the relationships between these issues and global flows of culture, theory and science. By taking into account the inherent geopolitical inequalities that impact on the practice of translation, as well as queer of color critique, queer diasporas and queer migration studies (Muñoz 1999; Ferguson 2003; Gopinath 2005; Luibhéid 2008) and transgender studies, we are interested in exploring the involvement of queer activism with migrations, neoliberalism, citizenship and nationality. One line of enquire could be how activist translation of LGBT+/Queer materials chooses what areas to focus on (gay men, cis lesbians, white queer middle class culture, etc.) or exclude, and how these choices then affect understandings of LGBT+/Queer in the host culture.

We are also interested in exploring what insights LGBT+/Queer activism’s focus on sexuality can add to existing studies of translation and activism. More specifically we argue that issues explored in translation and activism such as ideology, horizontality, non-hierarchy, collaboration and pluralism might not be sufficient to account for LGBT+/Queer scenarios and that we need to also draw on the notions of desire, precarity and affect, among others. These notions, investigated by queer theory (Berlant 2011, Ahmed 2004), by some of the studies of queer translation abovementioned (Gramlin and Dutta 2016; Baer and Kaindl 2017) and especially by queer transfeminism, that is feminism informed by transgender politics (Bettcher and Stryker 2016), can offer a more nuanced account of how these activist collectives and individuals operate. Borrowing Basile’s (2017) concept of queer translation as the intimate and vulnerable encounter between languages (skins, surfaces) which exposes their interdependence, we are interested in exploring, for example, how this concept could be applicable to queer transfeminist activism or other intersectional forms of LGBT+/queer activism.

Our focus in this issue is not only the themes translated by LGBT+/queer activist groups and individuals but also questions of how translation is understood, performed and disseminated. We put emphasis on how “queerness” affects translation epistemologies, that is what counts as translation, how it affects translation methodologies, and how it affects translation reception or how translation impacts on society at large. Special emphasis will be given thus to the performative aspect of activist translation: its capacity to produce transformation.

For this issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS), the guest editors invite contributions that address diverse types and locations of LGBT+/queer translational activism. We welcome papers on literary translation (including prose and poetry), specialized translation, interpreting, audiovisual translation or translation of theatre/performances. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following lines of research:

  • Fansubbing or fandubbing and LGBT+/Queer activism
  • Textual and paratextual strategies in LGBT+/Queer activist translation
  • The dissemination of translations by LGBT+/Queer activist translators
  • LGBT+/Queer activist translation and performativity
  • LGBT+/Queer activist translation and neoliberalism
  • Transfeminism and activist translation
  • Queer of color critique and activist translation
  • Queer migration and activist translation
  • Queer diasporas and activist translation
  • The translation of scientific studies of sexuality by LGBT+/Queer activists
  • The subtitling and dubbing of LGBT+/Queer film festivals and its relation to activism
  • Sociological analysis of LGBT+/ Queer activist groups of translators/interpreters
  • LGBT+/Queer activism and affect
  • LGBT+/Queer activism and desire
  • How translation practices can gender or otherwise circumscribe notions of queerness or LGBT+ identity
  • Theorizing queer activist translation

Timeline for Authors

Abstracts (400-500) words due to guest editors

February 1, 2019

Decision on abstracts

March 1, 2019

Submission of full manuscripts

September 1, 2019

Decisions to authors

February 1, 2020

Final versions of papers due

August 1, 2020

Publication of special issue

Summer 2021 (Issue 2)

Contact Information

Authors interested in contributing to this special thematic issue should submit an abstract (400–500 words) to the three guest editors:

Michela Baldo (M.Baldo@Hull.ac.uk)

Jonathan Evans (jonathan.evans@port.ac.uk)

Ting Guo (t.guo@exeter.ac.uk)

Please include a brief bionote about the authors and their university affiliation in a separate file. All abstracts and manuscripts should adhere to the Translation and Interpreting Studies style guide (http://www.atisa.org/tis-style-sheet).

Authors of abstracts that are accepted for consideration will be invited to submit a full manuscript that is 5000–6500 words in length (exclusive of bibliography). Every manuscript will be submitted to double-blind peer review.

The full CFP and accompanying reference list can be downloaded here.