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Such a condition has a political dimension that goes beyond the strict historicization of the classics. The call to translate is an ethical and political project for a post-Babel humanity. It has served as a vital means for constructing traditions that participate in the conflicts of the present, but also as the medium through which cultural works establish a certain solidarity between the struggles, polemics, visions, and experiences of different ages. Keywords: translation , classic , historicity , temporality , translation , cosmopolitanism.

Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in. This thesis contributes to the literature by examining the distorting effects of translation on the self-representation of German universities, as exemplars of highly institutionalised organisations with multiple stakeholders, and where a second language L2 threatens to eclipse the first.

Quran: 12. Surat Yusuf (Joseph): Arabic and English translation HD

It also builds on research in higher education branding by drawing attention to linguacultural issues that arise when universities seek to reconcile their domestic and international profiles. The conceptual framework applies neo-institutional and critical management theory to the postmodern concept of the organisation as a text.

The investigation identifies visible and invisible actors in translation, and three categories of distortion. However, he does not allow his Greek sympathies to restrict his human inquisitiveness. In what follows, however, we want to suggest that it was the intuitions of more marginal members of Greek society that lead us to a more exactly contemporary understanding of the relationship between translation, society and culture.

Cosmopolitanism It is commonly believed that the notion of cosmopolitanism had its origins in the writings and beliefs of the Cynic philosophers, Antisthenes and Diogenes. Aristippus, the founder of the Cyreniac school, in a more evocative image expressed a similar idea by claiming that the road to Hades was the same distance from any point in the world.

The Stoic philosopher Zeno would further develop the idea, claiming that all peoples carried within them the divine spark and all were capable of using logos or divine reason Mason For the inhabitants of the Athenian city-state, these ideas, though startling, came from social outsiders and were largely ignored. These thinkers on the margins of Athenian society were temporarily silenced by their own powerlessness. The ideal of humanity as a collection of free and equal beings, possessing the same basic rights and to whom notions of hospitality, openness to others and freedom of movement are primordial, underlies much thinking about translation, cultural contact and the intercultural from antiquity to our own times.

However, rather than replay here the history of cosmopolitan thought we would like to focus on current understandings of what constitutes the cosmopolitan in order to see how differentiated notions of the phenomenon can be used to illuminate debates about translation theory and practice in the contemporary world. If the notion of the cosmopolitan is to be of any service then we must have a more fine-grained understanding of what cosmopolitan thinking entails and why the beliefs of Antisthenes, Diogenes and Zeno are still of relevance to contemporary translators and cultural brokers.


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The turn of the century has seen a marked renewal of interest in the theory and practice of cosmopolitanism among political scientists, sociologists, philosophers and cultural theorists Cohen ; Brennan ; Cheah and Robbins ; Zachary ; Breckenridge et al. The interest has been prompted by a series of factors that have drawn attention to the necessity for new ways of thinking about the changing circumstances of cultures and societies.

Thus, the nationstate system and the sacrosanct principle of national sovereignty which had been elaborated from the Treaty of Westphalia in onwards came under increasing pressure. As evidence of this, if there were approximately 7, trans-border corporations in the s, there were 44, such corporations by the end of the Translation and the new cosmopolitanism 9 century Scholte Thus, economies or polities could no longer be seen as bounded entities to be described and managed within the framework of the postWestphalian nation-state.

Second, the end of the Cold War did not result everywhere in an effortless passage to a universal reign of peace and harmony but was characterized, for example in the former Yugoslavia, by the exacerbation of ethnic tensions and the outbreak of extreme interethnic violence.

Cosmopolitanism may be thought of as primarily a socio-cultural condition. Alternatively, cosmopolitanism may be seen as primarily a philosophy or world-view which, taking its lead mainly from the writings of Immanuel Kant, sees all of humanity as citizens of the world united by a set of common values, a particular philosophical stance towards others Reiss A variant on this stance is the idea of a cosmopolitan attitude or disposition which is not so much the obeying of a moral imperative as the expression of a desire or a willingness to engage with others Hannerz — Another way in which to present the cosmopolitan is to consider the emergence of transnational institutions and the beliefs and practices that these institutions entail.


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The cosmopolitan political project can equally be envisaged at the level of the subject with the notion of multiple subjects. In other words, human subjects have a plurality of different loyalties, a multiplicity of different ways in which they can be described or defined. In this view, cosmopolitanism is a way of thinking through the complexity of a polyidentity rather than accepting single, 10 Translation and the new cosmopolitanism all-encompassing identities for human subjects based on one variable alone Cohen — Lastly, there is a conception of the cosmopolitan that presents it primarily as a practice or a competence.

It is this particular notion of the cosmopolitan that underlies much of the work that goes on in the area of intercultural training.

Translation and the Classic: Identity as Change in the History of Culture - Oxford Scholarship

What these contemporary understandings of the cosmopolitan offer is the possibility of thinking about translation as a way not only of thinking but of being and acting in the world. In other words, more complex and differentiated understandings of the concept allow us to escape the idle and dispiriting debates about theory versus practice that have blighted certain kinds of writing over the years.

Another school of thought that cosmopolitanism tends to be associated with is that of universalism.

A variation on this theme is the ready assimilation of cosmopolitanism to economic and social privilege which is apparent not only in the tirades of the European Far Right but is present also in the analyses of progressive thinkers who are sceptical about the uses to which cosmopolitanism is put by transnational capital. Timothy Brennan, for example, launches a trenchant attack against cosmopolitan thinking in At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now where he denounces the current vogue for cosmopolitanism as simply the well-meaning version of American imperialism which under cover of cultural pluralism wishes to ensure the continued dominance of its political, economic, military and cultural interests.

However, though the existence of such a class is a recognizable reality and the suspicions of a Brennan or a Zolo are readily understandable, it is important that cosmopolitan thinking be understood on its own terms. Even if one is translating into the foreign language as a target language, there is still the element of displacement, as the translator moves from the native language to the other language.

So standing outside a singular location is an intrinsic part of 12 Translation and the new cosmopolitanism the translation process, repeated millions of times every day across the planet. If there are no singular locations, then there is nothing left to mediate and by extension nothing to translate. If we return to Peter Coulmas, the thinker and historian we mentioned earlier p. For Coulmas, a decline in cosmopolitanism is always synonymous with the rise of particularism and the birth of nationalism. When he goes on to describe important moments in the history of cosmopolitanism, it is almost invariably in the context of great empires of yesteryear, the Greek, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Carolingian, the French, the Spanish, the Austro-Hungarian and the British Coulmas 9— For the macro-cosmopolitan, it is only large political units which are capable of allowing the development of a progressive and inclusive vision of humanity, even if occasional hegemonic overreaching cannot be ruled out.

Small nations, ethnic Translation and the new cosmopolitanism 13 groups concerned with the protection or preservation of cultural identity, former colonies which still subscribe to an ideology of national liberation are dangerously suspect in this macroscopic conception of cosmopolitanism. These small states have indeed a function which is clearly described in a chapter on the great metropolises of history. Indeed, for Matthew Arnold in an earlier period it was precisely the centripetal pull of the centre that made the notion of separate nationhood for the Irish or the Welsh or the Bretons a dangerous illusion: Small nationalities inevitably gravitate towards the larger nationalities in their immediate neighbourhood.

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Their ultimate fusion is so natural and irresistible that even the sentiment of the absorbed race, ceases, with time, to stuggle against it; the Cornishman and the Breton become, at last, in feeling as well as in political fact, an Englishman and a Frenchman. Meizoz [It is absolutely necessary that if this man wishes to be famous he must bring his trashy talent to the capital, that there he must lay it out before the Parisian experts, pay for their valuation, and then a reputation is concocted for him which goes from the capital into the provinces where it is accepted with enthusiasm.

If Coulmas is cited in extenso it is because he offers in summary form a number of the basic theses of macro-cosmopolitanism, in particular an abiding hostility to political entities that are seen to be primarily defined by notions of national sovereignty or cultural particularism.

Translation & Identity

Micro-cosmopolitanism It is possible to oppose to the notion of macro-cosmopolitanism the concept of what we will call micro-cosmopolitanism. The concept attempts both to articulate the concerns and intuitions of Held and Hall and to offer a framework for thinking about translation in a progressive, enabling and non-exclusive fashion. Microcosmopolitan thought shares a number of macro-cosmopolitan core ideals — such as a concern for freedom, an openness to and tolerance of others, a respect for difference — but it is distinctly different in foregrounding other perspectives, other areas of work and research, and above all in freeing cosmopolitanism from a historical vision and a set of ideological presuppositions that threaten both its survival as a necessary element of human self-understanding and its ability to speak meaningfully to many different translation situations across the planet.

Why do we need a micro-cosmopolitan perspective and what does it consist of? We will begin with the necessity for such a perspective. Currently, none of these nations seem particularly keen on abandoning their independence and, in the case of many nation peoples such as the Tibetans or the Chechnes, national independence is still very much a live and contentious issue. A dangerous and fatal consequence of this approach is to set up a progressive cosmopolitanism in opposition to a bigoted, essentialist nationalism where the latter has no place for the former.

The effects of this double bind are particularly damaging and in intellectual life bring about the paralysis that Bateson noted so clearly in our emotional lives. Extreme nationalists of all hues Translation and the new cosmopolitanism 15 take refuge in virulent denunciations of anything construed to represent the cosmopolitan as has been demonstrated in such a tragic fashion in Europe by the history of anti-Semitism while the proponents of macro-cosmopolitanism for their part are trenchantly hostile to any movement of thought that might appear to harbour sympathy for nationalist ideology.

Another version of this unhelpful dualism is to be found in certain analyses of the phenomenon of globalization. Globalization is typically presented by its opponents as a process of whole-scale standardization Ritzer This thesis has been challenged by a number of thinkers such as Roland Robertson, Jonathan Friedman and Manuel Castells who view globalization as a fragmentary and centrifugal process as much as a unifying and centripetal one Robertson ; Friedman ; Castells Their analyses, which would appear to challenge the hegemony of the powerful, do not in fact offer smaller or less powerful polities a particularly promising role.

Theoreticians and practitioners of translation, whether from larger or smaller units, should not have to be condemned to the facile dualism of these macro perspectives.

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Micro-cosmopolitan thinking is an approach which does not involve the opposition of smaller political units to larger political units national or transnational. It is one which in the general context of the cosmopolitan ideals alluded to earlier seeks to diversify or complexify the smaller unit. In other words, it is a cosmopolitanism not from above but from below. The defence of difference is always problematic if the notion is understood in an essentialist and unitary sense but what we wish to advance here is a defence of difference not beyond but within the distinct political unit.

This term expresses the notion of a cultural complexity which remains constant from the micro to the macro scale. Mandelbrot called the new geometry that he had originated fractal geometry.