HomeMigration and translation

HomeMigration and translation

Migration and translation

Issue of “Open Cultural Studies”

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Migration and translation are distant but closely related phenomena that understand migration discursively as mobility of texts, international transfer of knowledge and transformation in the field of cultural literacy. Migration may be defined as translation, in line with Salman Rushdie’s proposal that migrants are “translated beings” (Rushdie, 1983). As a matter of fact, it would be easy to prove that they are constantly engaged in “translating and explaining themselves.”



Migration and translation are distant but closely related phenomena that understand migration discursively as mobility of texts, international transfer of knowledge and transformation in the field of cultural literacy. Migration may be defined as translation, in line with Salman Rushdie’s proposal that migrants are “translated beings” (Rushdie, 1983). As a matter of fact, it would be easy to prove that they are constantly engaged in “translating and explaining themselves.” The migrant’s hybrid status opens up new research areas in relation to: 1). Central European émigré literature before the collapse of communism, 2). writings of post-socialist Central European migrants abroad, 3). literary writings of migrants residing in Central Europe. If translation is migrants’ modus vivendi, their literary texts may be read as testimonies to their endeavours to negotiate their identities, achieve cultural literacy or competence in host cultures.

This special issue will focus on the ways in which migrant literatures manage to capture and explore new cultural territories through translation. 

Suggested topics may include:

  • creation of ethnic enclaves and myths, as alternative structures in which literature is both a channel for and a reflection of communication in the diaspora and beyond, 
  • re-narrating native cultures in confrontation with the host culture (e.g. essays on home cultures and literatures written in immigration, histories of native literatures in foreign languages, searching for communities articulating similar experiences of migration, the problem of cultural memory), 
  • auto-translations and problems they pose (switching codes, the use of the unspoken, e.g. genre structure, proxemic concepts, creating a “third space” as defined by Homi Bhabha) 
  • inscriptions of migrant experiences (in interviews, anthologies of texts, Central European studies programs abroad),
  • translations of migrants’ writings, Central European literature abroad and foreign literature in Central Europe (roles of paratexts, translation techniques as indications of relationships in the target culture, competences of migrant translators in the context of cultural literacy, motivations in selecting texts for translation vs. relations between the source and the host culture, translation series as a form of refreshing cultural memory) 
  • eco-translatology (ways to navigate the new translatological ecosystem, the relationship between the translatological and natural ecosystem, immigrant translations of natural codes into linguistic codes).

Migratory literature conceived in such a way reflects the intertwining of many identity projects within a single oeuvre or the implementation of one project in the writings of multiple authors. These projects can be defined as the melancholic, founded on the concept of loss; the negotiated, aiming at integrating past and current experiences; and the performative, in which an author or a group of authors successfully introduce their own variant of identity into the host culture. 

The study of reception of migrant literatures in host cultures is another topic this call for papers wishes to explore. The reception of literature written by Central European migrants in host cultures, both in their native or adoptive tongues, is to this day an under-researched area. These migrant writers’ reliance on their native heritage, even if they are third-generation immigrants, has shaped their identities and their understanding of foreign canons. Incorporating their literary outputs with Central European literary national canons would shed light on the migration of cultural concepts, the evocation of “third spaces,” and visualizing cultural networks of Central European émigré authors. 

This special issue also wishes to integrate research on Central European post-socialist émigré literature with the literary output of arrivals in Central Europe in a common framework of transculturation (as defined by Maria Tymoczko and according to later formulations). Such an inclusive critical approach is expected to grant this issue a wider perspective on intergenerational, political and intellectual formations, as well as the contextual studies on poetics, rhetoric etc.

Finally, this call on migrant translators invites researchers to take a closer look at forced migrants, called by Mary Gallagher “naked migrants.” These displaced persons, returnees and refugees are often deprived of the possibility of articulating their experience of forced displacement or exodus. Their portraits, emerging from the narratives of others, dominate the representation of Central European cultures abroad. Exploring these cultural images from the point of view of the adoptive culture can further contribute to expanding our understanding of Central European literature. The opposite gesture of examining the portraits of “naked migrants” in the literatures of Central Europe will complement the western studies of the “Other” and help to draw immigrants from the area of cultural invisibility and silence.

How to submit

Complete papers followed by a short bio should be submitted to kolodziejczyk.ewa@gmail.com

by 30 June 2017.


  • Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside, USA

Managing Editor

  • Izabella Penier, Izabella.Penier@degruyteropen.com

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Deeptha Achar, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India
  • Ece Algan, California State University,  USA
  • Juan-Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • Jesús Arroyave Cabrera, Universidad del Norte, Colombia
  • Sarah Banet-Weiser, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USA
  • Susan Bassnett, University of Glasgow, UK
  • Chua Beng Huat, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Alessandro Carrera, University of Houston, USA
  • Desmond Cheuk-kuen Hui, Hang Seng Management College, Hong Kong
  • Miyase Christensen, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Umberto Curi, Univeristy of Padua, Italy
  • Simon During, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Richard Dyer, King’s College London, UK
  • Anthony Y. H. Fung, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Dilip Gaonkar, Northwestern School of Communiction, USA
  • Kelly Gates, University of California San Diego, USA
  • Gretchen Gerzina, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Marie Gillespie, Open University, UK
  • Rainer Guldin, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland
  • Yang Guorong, East China Normal University, China
  • Jack Halberstam, Columbia University in the City of New York, USA
  • Dal Yong Jin, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Baron Kelly, University of Louisville, USA
  • Thomas Kemple, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Roy Krøvel, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • Thomas Kuehn, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • Jack Linchuan Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Vivian Liska, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Joost van Loon, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany
  • Andrey Makarychev, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, Estonia
  • Anna Malinowska, University of Silesia, Poland
  • Verdicchio Massimo, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Ewa Mazierska, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Richard Maxwell, Queens College, City University of New York, USA
  • David Morley, Goldsmiths University of London, UK
  • Graham Murdock, Loughborough University, UK
  • John Nguyet Erni, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
  • Nikos Papastergiadis, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Riché Richardson, Cornell University, USA
  • Andrew Ross, New York University, USA
  • Tony Schirato, University of Macau, Macau
  • Jyotsna G. Singh, Michigan State University, USA
  • John Storey, University of Sunderland, UK
  • Graeme Turner, The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), Australia
  • Aimée Vega Montiel, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • David Walton, University of Murcia, Spain


Gallagher, Mary. Lost and Gained in Migration: The Writing of Migrancy. In: From Literature to Cultural Literacy. Ed. N. Segal and D. Koleva, Palgrave Macmillan 2014, p. 133. 

Rushdie, Salman. 1983. Shame. New York: Vintage International, p. 49. Print.

Rutherford, Jonathan. 1990. The Third Space. Interview with Homi Bhabha. In. Ders. (Hg.) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. London: Lawrence and Wishart, p. 207-221. Print

Tymoczko, Maria. 2007. Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Manchester: St. Jerome. Print.


  • Friday, June 30, 2017


  • migration, translation, literature


  • Ewa Kołodziejczyk
    courriel : ewa [dot] kolodziejczyk [at] ibl [dot] waw [dot] pl

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Ewa Kołodziejczyk
    courriel : ewa [dot] kolodziejczyk [at] ibl [dot] waw [dot] pl


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Migration and translation », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, https://calenda.org/408047

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search