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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Professor Ning Wang [Tsinghua University]: 'Translating Modernity and (Re)Constructing World Literature'

13th June 2011, 16:00, ER152, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

About the Speaker: WANG Ning, one of China's leading scholars of literary and cultural studies, is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Tsinghua University, and Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Among his numerous books and articles in Chinese, he has authored two books in English: Globalization and Cultural Translation (2004), and Translated Modernities: Literary and Cultural Perspectives on Globalization and China (2010). He has also published extensively in such international prestigious journals as New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, boundary 2, Comparative Literature Studies, Modern Language Quarterly, Neohelicon, Semiotica, Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, ARIEL and many others.

Abstract: The issue of modernity with regard to the function of translation has been one of the most cutting edge theoretical topics in both Chinese and international contexts, especially in dealing with the issues of globalization and world literature. As we know, modernity functioned both politically and culturally in the Chinese context. And the large-scale translation in the 1920s and 1930s played an important role in constructing modern Chinese literary canon. This literary and cultural translation has also aroused severe debates among China's intellectuals and humanities scholars. To the speaker, the great achievements made in modern Chinese literature can never be neglected, especially from the perspective of world literature. For through such translation, modern Chinese literature has become closer and closer to the mainstream of world literature carrying on direct dialogues with its international counterparts, which will function dynamically in the reconstruction of world literature. The speaker thereby calls for another large-scale translation in the current age of globalization: translating contemporary Chinese literature into the major world languages and deconstructing the West-centric framework of world literature. For it is another stage of modernity in the Chinese context.

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