Exploring the ways cultural products, ideas and forms move between cultures and genres to fulfil translators’ acknowledged and unacknowledged artistic, cultural and socio-political aims, my Mellon seminars examine issues of intergeneric, intersemiotic and intercultural translation in Iran. They are also planned to examine similar issues in Anglophone African countries, particularly because due to the multiplicity of languages in African countries and the adoption of English as the national language in some, for many African peoples the issue of translation is at the centre of everyday life and many leading writers and playwrights have utilized their folk narratives, plays and songs to produce epic narratives, plays and novels in English.
Translation and transposition, however, can also be interpreted at a more metaphorical level, where any attempt at redefining one’s culture can be an act of translation and the duty of a creative intellectual becomes identical with translating one’s culture into modernity without being entrapped in mimicry and in what Jalal Al-e Ahmad referred to as Gharbzadegi or ‘westoxication’. In this sense, the works of artists who endeavour to redefine the cultural roles of individuals of various class and types — particularly women, intellectuals and children — by juxtaposing presentational and representational modes of depiction becomes a form of translation or transposition in which the performance of characters on the stage, screen or printed page becomes the translation of a given cultural totality into present and future selves which are offered in hope of shifting the modalities of being within that cultural totality.
Thus another focus of my Mellon seminars is to explore the locus where performance and translation in their literal and metaphorical meanings meet to redefine a culture and confront its metaphysical mythologies and obsessions by presenting intellectually accountable mythologies or by baring them to their simple ingredients to show their absurdity. This becomes particularly significant in th rohibitions have forced filmmakers to find innovative ways to confront cultural taboos and shift the borders of propriety. Some of my seminars, therefore, explore issues related to gender, ethnicity and children in Iranian cinema.
This page last modified
26 September, 2012