Untranslating Peace


Untranslating Peace was a seminar I held at the MA Program in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, August 1-12, 2011.

This seminar aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the interculturality of peace by drawing on theories of translation and cultural translation. Coming out of postcolonial and queer theory, as well as linguistic translation theories, cultural translation has been researched and practiced in a range of contexts as both a theory and a practice of cultural difference. As cultural translation is a process in which the cultural and the political intersect, the hypothesis of the seminar is that by critically studying cultural translation, we can gain new insights not only into the cultural conditionings of peaces, but also the politics of peace. Acknowledging the various cultural perspectives on peace as a move away from an unspoken eurocentrism, the seminar uses cultural translation as a way of politicizing culture. Thus, it is critical of, and moves beyond, a politics caught up in the calculus of “security”. The seminar is called untranslating peace because it departs from a critical perspective on modern peace–as a peace that can be translated into every reality, at the cost of cultural violence. The seminar therefore untranslates peace by starting from the negative side of translation: that which we do not translate even when we translate.

Go to Untranslating Peace website

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