PhD Masterclass How will we read in the future? Comparative literature and translation studies in the 21st century

Invitation to the PhD masterclass How will we read in the future? Comparative literature and translation studies in the 21st century with Emer O’Sullivan (Leuphana University) and Rebecca Walkowitz (Rutgers University) on 21-23 March 2024 at Ghent University.

This masterclass is designed for PhD students and other researchers working in the fields of translation and (comparative) literary studies. Under the guidance of two experts in those fields and through lectures, discussion seminars, and individual tutorials, participants will explore various theoretical and methodological issues related to concepts such as ‘originals,’ ‘languages,’ and the ‘voice’ of the translator. These concepts are questioned by our contemporary reading practices, which are thoroughly multilingual, multimedial, and multimodal. Participants are expected to engage in preparatory readings and will be asked to bring examples and case studies from their own (PhD) research.

Organisation: Francis Mus, Vanessa Joosen and Maureen Hosay

Contact: Maureen Hosay

Thursday March 21 Evening debate for a wider audience, with E. O’Sullivan and R. Walkowitz
Friday March 22 What is an original? What is a language?
(R. Walkowitz)
This lecture discusses the ways in which translation studies is transforming some of the foundational concepts in literary studies and linguistics, with a special focus on the idea of the “original” and the idea of “a language.”Translation, multilingualism, media studies (R. Walkowitz)
The focus will specifically be on how the visual experiments in literature and film create new opportunities for experiments in translation, with an eye towards thinking about how globalization both drives and constrains these experiments and how practices of translation intersect with philosophies of multilingualism and cosmopolitanism.Individual tutorials with either of the speakers
Saturday March 23 Intersemiotic translation: illustration as translation.
Translating picturebooks (E. O’Sullivan)
This lecture brings the idea of intersemiotic translation and the interplay between verbal and visual elements to the fore. It will also broach a variety of topics, focusing specially on illustration as translation and translating picturebooks.The voice of the translator (E. O’Sullivan)
This seminar discusses the voice of the translator in translated literature – integrating narratology/narrative theories and translation studies – to look at the discursive presence of the translator, but also at voice as a performative aspect.

Individual tutorials with either of the speakers.

Emer O’Sullivan is Professor of English Literature at the Institute of English Studies at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. Her areas of specialisation lie in comparative literature, translation studies, image studies, and children’s literature. She has written seminal works on the translation of children’s literature. Her research focuses, among other things, on the interplay between text and images in picturebooks in translation.

Rebecca Walkowitz is Dean of Humanities and Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her areas of expertise include translation studies, contemporary novels, modernism, and transnational approaches to literature. She has written extensively in the field of translation studies and has devoted substantial attention to how work of arts (novels and others) operate in an age of globalisation and multilingualism.

Inspired by our guests’ expertise in comparative literature, a companion exhibition – centering around our participants’ research – will be held alongside the masterclass. The red threads of the exhibition is the idea of reading comparatively, and Walkowitz’s concept of “born translated” works, i.e. a broad range of works for which translation is a condition of production and no longer an afterthought. You are warmly invited to partake in this PhD student-led exhibition, which is a opportunity to share your work, express your creativity, or both! You can pick among three submission options: (i) material from your research that can be displayed; (ii) a creative engagement with your research material; (iii) an artistic work engaging with the idea of “reading comparatively” and/or being “born translated.” A call for works providing more details on the exhibition will be sent to you once you sign up for the masterclass.
The masterclass takes place on Thursday 21 (evening), Friday 22 (whole day), and Saturday 23 (whole day) March 2024 at Paviljoen Vandenhove, on the University campus in Ghent (Rozier 1, 9000 Gent).

The registration deadline for the masterclass is 1st December at the latest via email, at: Please note that the number of available spots is limited to 25 participants.

If you plan to have material displayed during the exhibition, please specify it in your email. We will then get in touch with you to share more precise information regarding the content and organization of the exhibition.

An organization of Ghent University Doctoral Schools, TRACE, CLIV, CERES, and ACDC