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Dernière modification : 26 novembre 2018

Untranslatables as a Method


October 11, 2018
6:00-7:30 pm

Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Brown University


Public Lecture by Barbara Cassin (CNRS, labex TransferS – Université PSL, Académie française)
Introduction : Peter Szendy, Brown University


Barbara Cassin takes as her point of departure the Vocabulaire européen des philosophies : Dictionnaire des intraduisibles (Paris : Seuil-Le Robert, 2004). She emphasizes its specifically European — some might say oh-so-French — purposes before discussing the ongoing adventure of its various translations-adaptations-reinventions, among them the Dictionary of Untranslatables (eds. Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood, Princeton University Press, 2014). Each of these, in its own language, has unique cultural and political intentions that can be described but also elude the Dictionnaire’s editor. Cassin then considers how the methodological approach of the Dictionnaire has developed and contaminated domains beyond philosophy and comparative literature, including museum and heritage studies, psychoanalysis, and now the study of the “three monotheisms.” What is the difference between this approach and a purely comparative method, if such a thing exists ? Could we hope for different results ? Which ones and why ?

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