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Postcoloniality, Translation and Minor Literatures

Sihko Siyotula, Cosmopolis Doodle

Paul Bandia (Concordia University, Montreal)

Postcoloniality, Translation and Minor Literatures


This lecture aims at highlighting current trends in postcolonial translation theory dealing with issues related to intercultural writing, multilingualism and literary heteroglossia in minority literatures.  The latter includes literatures from the postcolony, the diaspora and contexts of migration. The discussion focuses on the conceptualization of translation as a paradigm or scientific construct in defining the contours and positioning of minor literatures within current discourse on globalization and cosmopolitanism.



Thursday, June 29th 2017; 18-20 // Campus Neues Palais, Building 9, Room 2.15 (second floor)

Seminar with Paul Bandia (Concordia University, Montreal)

Each lecture was accompanied by a seminar conducted by the speaker, which picks up on the themes and talking points of the lecture. 

Friday, June 30th 2017; 10-12 

Short Bio

Professor Paul Bandia is professor of Francophone Studies at Concordia University in Montreal specialising in the field of translation studies with a focus on African literatures. He is the author of the book Translation as Reparation: Writing and Translation in Postcolonial Africa (2008), and Orality and Translation (2016) as well as several edited and co-edited volumes.


Interview with Paul Bandia 

Following his lecture as part of the lecture series Minor Cosmopolitan Theory at the University of Potsdam in June 2017, Prof Bandia was kind to respond to a set of questions by Yann Le Gall and Moses März, who are members of the RTG. In this conversation, he provides a glimpse into the field of postcolonial translation theory, describes how his work relates to 'minor cosmopolitanisms' and shares his views on the notion of reparation through translation as well as on current trends in African literature, such as afropolitanism.

What are some of the main characteristics of an African Postcolonial Translation Theory?

It is an interesting question because it's not just about African post-colonialism but about post-colonialism as a whole. Postcolonial translation theory aims to address the lacuna that exists in dealing with literatures or contexts that are minor, subaltern or peripheral. This is always in relation to what you would call the imperial centre.Now what are the characteristics of postcolonial translation? They are different from your regular normative translation studies. By ‘normative’ I mean situations where we mainly think of translation from one monolithic, monolingual entity onto another monolithic, monolingual entity, such as going from standard French to standard English or vice versa. What postcolonial theory does differently is that it finds the monolingual translation project to be limited and not able to account for postcolonial experiences. In other words, postcolonial experiences are often plurilingual, plurivocal, heteroglossic: all these terms that speak to a sense of multiplicity; an essential heterogeneity. You need a theory or an approach that can account for such texts and should then be different than what we have known in translation studies since the 1950s when translation studies was basically the understanding of contrastive linguistics and comparative stylistics...


Read the full interview