language learning


National, Transnational, Translational: Re-Thinking Italian in a Multilingual Landscape
A Lecture by Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University, UK)

Mon Oct. 15, 2018 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Lecture Hall 101, Feliciano School of Business)


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Introductory remarks: Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, Montclair State University)
Greetings: Kathleen Loysen (Head of Translation Program in French, Montclair State University)


What is the space occupied by national languages and cultures in the contemporary world? And what role does translation play in a multilingual landscape, where contact with multiple languages is an integral part of our everyday life rather than a feature of discreet encounters with the foreign? Taking as its starting point research carried out by the project ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures’, the talk will discuss the move from a national model of Italian language and culture to a transnational perspective which foregrounds the constitutive role of mobility and translation in shaping our experience of what we call ‘Italian’. The ‘Italian case’ will be explored through examples taken from popular music, translingual writing and the visual arts. These examples will be used to illustrate the notion of a ‘translation continuum’: a set of linguistic and, more broadly, cultural practices which allow us to negotiate our multiple identities and allegiances. In a world in which, in spite of ‘the myth of English’, the majority of people have access to more than one language, national languages and national cultures take on different meanings, call for different interpretations, and ask for a different set of pedagogical practices – starting from a fundamental re-thinking of core notions such as ‘fluency’, ‘native speaker’ and ‘mother tongue’.

Loredana Polezzi is a Professor of Translation Studies in the School of Modern Languages at Cardiff University. Her main research interests are in the connection between translation, migration and other forms of travel. Her recent work focuses on how geographical and social mobilities are connected to the theories and practices of multilingualism, translation and self-translation. She is currently a co-investigator in the research projects ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ and ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Global Challenges’, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council under its ‘Translating Cultures’ and Global Challenges Research Fund schemes.

Her publications include Translating Travel: Contemporary Italian Travel Writing in English Translation (2001), Borderlines: Migrazioni e identità nel Novecento (2003, with J. Burns), In Corpore: Bodies in Post-Unification Italy (2007, with C. Ross), ‘Travel Writing and Italy’ (special issue of Studies in Travel Writing, 16:2, June 2012, with S. Ouditt) and the forthcoming Transnational Italian Studies (with C. Burdett and M. Santello) and Transcultural Italies: Mobility, Memory and Translation (with C. Burdett and B. Spadaro). With Rita Wilson, she is co-editor of The Translator. She is also a founding member of the ‘Cultural Literacy in Europe’ network and the current president of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS).