Organized Panel Session
In light of ongoing territorial disputes such as the one over the South China Sea and the resurgence of nativist, populist discourse in the current contemporary conjuncture, this panel proposes to examine the question of Asian modernities through the critical lens of translation. “Translation” is here understood to go beyond the typical notion of conceptual diffusion and conceives of “culture” as the space where identifies are formed, deformed and transformed (See Brett de Bary, Lydia Liu, Naoki Sakai). Thus understood, not only does “translation” furnish a productive framework to analyze the complex ways by which ideas, languages and subjects, whether individual or collective, come into explosive contact with one another, it also allows a dialogue between past and present, a critical interrogation of the mechanisms by which cultures are negotiated. Panelists will examine this problem through their respective texts and contexts.
Eileen Vo looks at the unintended effects of the French colonial administration’s disciplinary actions on Vietnamese translators and interpreters. Lorraine Paterson likewise analyzes the role of translation/interpretation in the management of Indochinese deportees in the Global French Empire. Ryota Hiyane discusses Japan’s modernization policy toward Okinawa and the problems of asserting cultural autonomy in light of the region's successive changes in political regimes. Finally, Richard Tran examines early twentieth century Vietnamese public debates on same-sex sexuality to elucidate the translation problems arising when different cultural traditions that have shaped the region come into dynamic contact with each other.