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Jhumpa Lahiri on Translation: Unbuilding Walls, Expanding Cultural Horizons

Due to the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 response, many events have been canceled but have not been updated on the calendar. Please contact the event organizer to verify that the event is still taking place before you attend.

November 18, 2019, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location University Hall - Conference Center, 7th Floor
SponsorInserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, Italian Program, CHSS Dean's OfficeCostFree and open to the publicMore Informationhttps:/‌/‌‌inserra-chair/‌events/‌2019-20-events/‌jhumpa-lahiri-on-translation/‌?wp_logged_in=truePosted InCollege of Humanities and Social Sciences
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In the past few years, Jhumpa Lahiri has become a translator, a practice that carries intense personal and political meaning for her and about which she is theorizing in sophisticated and yet accessible ways. After learning Italian and living in Italy for a while, Lahiri has embraced translation as a main creative and intellectual activity in the footsteps of several canonical writers from around the world who believe/d that writing is about languages.

A courageous choice for an acclaimed fiction writer like her, whose position in the Anglophone world has been established for a long time, translation allows her to rethink herself as a person and a writer at a time in which monolithic forms of cultural and linguistic belonging continue to persist, and are actually growing in extreme forms. Back in 2000, Lahiri published a short story penetratingly titled “Interpreter of Maladies” and pivoting around the individual and social implications of traveling between languages.

Almost two decades later, she has worked on a ponderous book, in which she functioned as both editor and translator in part, The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories. In its introduction, she uncompromisingly states: “Only translations can expand the literary horizon, open doors, and knock down walls.” This powerful statement will be the starting point for a conversation about the crucial role of translation in today’s world as an art and a political tool, and even a revolutionary act, that speaks to (pun intended) all of us, regardless of our cultural backgrounds, socio-economic extraction, professional and student roles, and personal interests. Please join us for an evening which promises to be a fascinating journey across borders.

RSVP by November 14