Online conference “World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation” (6-7 May 2021, University of Leuven)

Conference website

Call for Papers (abridged version)
The conference “World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, Translation” will explore the multifaceted meanings of the minor from different disciplinary perspectives—as it is represented in literary texts (figuration), as it inflects patterns of mobility and reception (circulation), and as it marks processes of linguistic and cultural transfer (translation). The conference will work towards a critical, more inclusive understanding of the minor, both conceptually and methodologically.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 December 2020. Please send your proposal to

Keynote speakers
Michael Cronin (Trinity College Dublin)
B. Venkat Mani (UW-Madison)
Francesca Orsini (SOAS)
Lyndsey Stonebridge (Birmingham)

Online format
In order to stimulate as much interaction as possible, the conference panels will consist of small working groups based on pre-circulated papers. The participants will have 5 minutes to summarize their paper. The presentations will be followed by a short response and a general discussion.

We plan to publish a selection of the papers in a thematic special journal issue and a book. The aim of the discussions is to establish common threads between the different topics and to work towards expanded versions of the papers suitable for publication.

Important dates
15 December 2020: deadline for abstract submission
15 January 2021: notification of acceptance
1 March 2021: deadline for online registration
20 April 2021: deadline for paper submission
6-7 May 2021: conference

Coloquio “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”

Coloquio “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”

Estimad@s colegas:
Querid@s amig@s:

El próximo 15 y 16 de octubre se organiza el coloquio virtual internacional: “Nuevas escrituras multilingües latinoamericanas y latinas (2000-2020)”. Este coloquio, una colaboración entre la Universidad de Gante y la Universidad de Lovaina, se organiza en el marco del proyecto “Vidas en traducción” financiado por el Fondo de Investigación científica de Flandes.

En particular les llamamos la atención sobre la conferencia inaugural de Pablo Gasparini (Universidade de São Paulo) y las actividades con varios escritores invitados. El programa completo y los resúmenes se encuentran en el sitio web:

Tomando en cuenta la diferencia de horarios para los participantes, el coloquio empieza siempre a las 14 hrs (hora de Bruselas). La participación es gratis y no hace falta registrarse de antemano. El coloquio se realizará a través de la plataforma Zoom. Se puede acceder a través de los enlaces siguientes (habrá un enlace diferente para cada día):

Jueves 15 de octubre de 2020:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 989 7186 2502
Passcode: 6k185j08

 Viernes 16 de octubre de 2020:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 973 8792 2299
Passcode: 5l233c46

Para mayor información sobre el uso de Zoom, véase nuestro sitio web.

En espera de poder darles la bienvenida virtual, l@s saludamos muy cordialmente.

Ilse Logie, An Van Hecke y Sarah Staes

Call for abstracts – The complexity of socio-cultural emergence: biosemiotics, semiotics and translation studies


Kobus Marais, University of the Free State
Reine Meylaerts, KU Leuven
Maud Gonne, UNamur/ UCLouvain

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Biosemiotics – Terrence Deacon (University of California, Berkeley)
Semiotics – Frederik Stjernfelt (Aalborg University, Copenhagen)
Translation studies – Michael Cronin (Trinity College Dublin)

Conference date: 26-28 August 2021

Place: KU Leuven, Belgium

Since the emergence of complexity thinking, scholars from the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities are renewing efforts to construct a unified framework that would unite all scholarly activity. The work of Terrence Deacon (2013), at the interface of (at least) physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, cognitive science, semiotics, anthropology and philosophy, is a great, though not the only, example of this kind of work. It is becoming clear that this paradigm of complex relational and process thinking means, among others, that the relationships between fields of study are more important than the differences between them. Deacon’s contribution, for instance, lies not (only) in original findings in any of the fields in which he works but (also) in the ways in which he relates bodies of knowledge to one another. An example would be his links between a theory of work (physics) and a theory of information (cybernetics) by means of a theory of meaning (semiotics).

This line of thinking indeed situates semiotics and biosemiotics in the centre of the abovementioned debate (also see Hoffmeyer, 2008; Kauffman, 2012).

In semiotics, Susan Petrilli’s (2003) thought-provoking collection covers a wide variety of chapters focused on translation, which she conceptualizes as semiotic process. Her work made it possible to link biosemiotics and semiotics through the notion of “translation”, which is what we aim to explore further in this conference.

Michael Cronin’s work in translation studies links up with the above through his use of the notion of “ecology”. To apprehend interconnectedness and vulnerability in the age of the Anthropocene, his work challenges text-oriented and linear approaches while engaging in eco-translational thinking. He calls tradosphere all translation systems on the planet, all the ways in which information circulates between living and non-living organisms and is translated into a language or a code that can be processed or understood by the receiving entity (Cronin, 2017, p. 71). The aptness of Cronin’s work on ecology finds a partner in that of Bruno Latour, whose development of a sociology of translation (2005) responds to the need to reconnect the social and natural worlds and to account for the multiple connections that make what he calls the ‘social’.

In an effort further to work out the implications of this new way of thinking, Marais (2019, p. 120) conceptualized translation in terms of “negentropic semiotic work performed by the application of constraints on the semiotic process” (see also Kress 2013). Building on Peirce, namely that the meaning of a sign is its translation into another sign, translation is defined as a process that entails semiotic work done by constraining semiotic possibilities. This conceptualization allows for the study of all forms of meaning-making, i.e. translation, under a single conceptual framework, but it also allows for a unified ecological view for both the sciences and the humanities. “The long standing distinction between the human and social sciences and the natural and physical sciences is no longer tenable in a world where we cannot remain indifferent to the more than human” (Cronin, 2017, p. 3).

These kind of approaches open ample possibilities for a dialogue between Translation Studies, Semiotics and Biosemiotics, exploring translation not only in linguistic and anthropocentric terms, but as a semiotic process that can take place in and between all (living) organisms – human and non-human organic and inorganic, material and immaterial alike. Not only the translation of Hamlet into French, or of oral speech into subtitles, but also communication between dolphins or between a dog and its master, or moving a statue from one place to another, or rewatching a film are translation processes. However, many of the implications of this line of thinking still need to be explored, and if the references to Deacon, Petrilli and Cronin holds, this should be done in an interdisciplinary way that tests, transgresses and transforms scholarly boundaries.

It is for this reason that we call for papers for a conference in which we hope to draw together biosemioticians, semioticians and translation studies scholars to discuss the interdisciplinary relations between these fields and the implications of these relations for the study of social and cultural reality as emerging from both matter and mind. We invite colleagues to submit either theoretical or data-driven or mixed proposals, reflecting on the complexity of social-cultural emergence as a translation process. Some of the topics that colleagues could consider would be the following:

· Is translation, as semiotic work and process, indeed able to link all of the biological world, including humans, with the non-living world in one ecology, and if so how?

· What conceptual constructs in each of the three fields are relevant for the other fields, and how?

· Could the fields learn methodological and epistemological lessons from one another? If so, what would these entail?

· Could collaborative scholarship enhance an understanding of social-cultural emergence, and if so, what would this scholarship entail?

· How, if at all, does entropy and negentropy play out differently in social-cultural systems compared to biological and/or physical systems?

· How does social-cultural emergence differ from biological and even physical emergence? Systems thinking tends to ignore differences like the intentionality of biological agents in contrast to physical agents. Thus, if one were to consider the possibility that intention has causal effect, how does one factor intention into thinking about complex adaptive systems?

We plan an interactive conference. Firstly, we invited three keynote speakers, one from each of the fields involved, to give their views on the relationships between these three fields. Secondly, apart from the normal responses to papers, we would like to end each day of the conference with a session (about one hour) in which the keynote speakers reflect, round-table style, on the papers of the day and in which participants have the opportunity to engage them and one another in open debate style.


Submission of abstracts – 1 December 2020
Notification of acceptance – 1 February 2021
Registration opens – 1 March 2021
Registration closes – 15 July 2021

Please e-mail enquiries and abstracts of around 300 words to one of the following addresses:


Cronin, M., 2017. Eco-translation: Translation and ecology in the age of the anthropocene. New York: Routledge.

Deacon, T. W., 2013. Incomplete nature: How mind emerged from matter. New York: WW Norman & Company.

Hoffmeyer, J., 2008. Biosemiotics: An examination into the signs of life and the life of signs. London: University of Scranton Press.

Kauffman, S., 2012. From physics to semiotics. In: S. Rattasepp & T. Bennet, eds. Biosemiotic gatherings. Tartu: University of Tartu Press, pp. 30-46.

Kress, G., 2013. Multimodal discourse analysis. In: J. P. Gee & M. Handford, eds. The Routledge handbook of discourse analysis. New York: Routledge, pp. 35-50.

Latour, B., 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Marais, K., 2019. A (bio)semiotic theory of translation: The emergence of social-cultural reality. New York: Routledge.

Petrilli, S., ed., 2003. Translation Translation. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Job offer : doctoral fellow (UGent, dep. Translation, Interpretation and Communication)

The research group Translation and Culture at Ghent University ( seeks to recruit a PhD fellow (doctoral candidate) for its project on TRANSLATION AND FRANCOISM (2020-2024).

We offer a 4-year grant (2 + 2), on the condition of a positive evaluation after 2 years. The position is available from 1 May 2020, but the starting date is negotiable up to 1 September 2020 at the very latest.


Between 1939 and 1975 Francisco Franco’s administration held a tight control over public discourse in Spain. This project studies the role of translation during Francoism. A site of tension and censorship under Franco, translation throws light on cultural struggle and on the values, practices, and institutions that Francoism—or sectors of the regime—defended and opposed in various times and places. The project is currently looking for a research proposal about translation between Spanish and, preferably, (one of) the following languages: French, English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, or Swedish.

Topics available for research include, but are not limited to:

–a case study on the Francoist reception and translation of a film oeuvre;

–a case study on the Francoist reception and translation of (part of) a literary oeuvre;

–a case study on translation and journalism during Francoism;

–a case study on translation and political discourse during Francoism;

–a study that maps events, networks, and tendencies in one pivotal period of translation censorship (e.g., an important month or year in the Francoist censorship of translated film);

— a study that carries out a longitudinal study of an important agent of translation (e.g., a high-profile translator or an influential Francoist censor of literary or film translations). As a doctoral fellow at Ghent University

you will

– collect and analyze data from relevant archives (especially the Archivo General de la Administración in Alcalá, Madrid);

– present your ongoing research at national and international conferences;

– write a doctoral dissertation within four years;

– prepare individual and joint publications;

– occasionally assist in teaching activities at the department.

Ghent University is a top 100 university and one of the major universities in Belgium. Located in a vibrant historic city, Ghent University is a multilingual working environment and offers great career opportunities.


For more info and application :

Research seminar ‘Translation Studies and Society’ (VUB)

Edition spring 2020: ‘On translation as a task, and (un)translatability’

The aim of this seminar is to exchange critical reflections and to discuss important topics in translation studies (such as (un)translatability; cultural transfer; identity, language and culture; translation and ethics/politics; translation and mother tongue; etc.). Translation theories will be discussed in relation to their significance for the translational applications as well as the other way around, translation practices will be described and examined for their significance in cultural studies and human sciences in general. Translation has become a metaphor in discussions on multiculturalism, globalization, diversity, and politics of recognition: translational experience and phenomena have relevance for culture and politics/society beyond their technical and linguistic aspects, and/or the merely linguistic domain.

In the three starting sessions of this seminar, the focus will be on three founding fathers of translation studies, Roman Jakobson, Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci. From Jakobson we will read ‘On Linguistic Aspects of Translation’, optionally with some critical comment. From Benjamin we will focus on ‘The Task of the Translator’, with possibly a minor text on translation or a critical comment. In the case of Gramsci, we will read a critical text of Derek Boothman that focusses on the role of Gramsci’s reflections on language, translation and translatability in his entire social and political thought, and if appropriate, we will confront with some other critical text fragments of Peter Ives.

The research seminar is organized as a reading group. Participants will have to read texts (max. 20p.) and prepare in advance of every session. The texts will be provided well in advance, for the first session as soon as the registration is closed.

The seminar is organized by Prof. dr. S. Lavaert (BIAL).

Registration: participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please send an e-mail to, by February 10th, 2020 at the latest.

Location: all sessions take place at the VUB, campus Etterbeek. The room will be communicated after the registration is closed.

Doctoral students: the research seminar is a part of the Doctoral School Human Sciences (DSh). Doctoral students need to attend every meeting and receive 1 credit per session.

Program: The first session takes place on February 27th, 2020, 16–18h (coffee will be provided), the next sessions on March 19th and April 30th (to be confirmed at the first meeting). Prof. dr. S. Lavaert will deliver a brief introduction of each session, in the first one on Jakobson.