conference programme

Modernities in the Contact Zone: Translating across Unfamiliar Objects

Day 1 (21.10.2021)

10 am: Introduction

Opening Remarks by Kathleen Samson

10:30 – 12:00

Panel I: Translating Modernities

Moderator: Kathleen Samson

Temptation and Anxiety of Translating Revolution – Bidyut Boruah, University of Delhi

Embodying Contact Zones – Melinda Niehus-Kettler, Universität Potsdam

Ukrainian feminisms between multiple modernities and multiple Europes – Vira Sachenko, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen 

12:00 – 13:30

Lunch Break

13:30 – 15:00

Panel II: Locomotive Modernities

Moderator: Baldeep Kaur Grewal

“It’s a good car, it’s just broken down” – Michelle Stork, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt 

Train Travel as a Site for Encountering Modernity – Sheelalipi Sahana, University of Edinburgh 

Re-Documenting the US Invasion of Panama – Stephen Woo, Brown University

Keynote: 17:00

Revis(ualis)ing Intersectionality: The Ends of Visibility – Prof. Dr. Elahe Haschemi Yekani (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)

Moderators: Priyam Goswami Choudhury/Baldeep Kaur Grewal
https://uni-potsdam.zoom.us/j/64387573875
Passcode: 13113752

Day 2 (22.10.21)

10:00 – 11:30

Panel III: Performative Modernities

Moderator: Kathleen Samson

Making Brecht UnBrechtian – Souradeep Roy, Queen Mary University of London

Performing Borders – Claudia Sackl, Universität Wien

The Gift of Modernity – Carlos Quijon Jr, University of the Philippines 

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 – 13:30 Artist talk

Captain Pro and the Hekim of Discostan – Promona Sengupta, Freie Universität Berlin

Moderator: Priyam Goswami Choudhury
https://uni-potsdam.zoom.us/j/68976806593
Passcode: 80362172

13:30 – 15:00 Lunch Break

15:00 – 17:00

Panel IV – Defamiliarising Modernities

Moderator: Florian Schybilski

Defamiliarizing American History – Angela Benkhadda, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Translation and Memory in the Humboldt Forum – Rita Maricocchi, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Ogbanje and Gender – Christina Slopek, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Cuerpo-territorio as traveling theory/ practice – Annabelle Riedesel, University of Oxford

Day 3 (23.10.21)

10:00 – 12:30 – Career Workshop with Prof. Dr. Kylie Crane, Universität Rostock

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch Break

13:30 – 14:30 – Round Table (moderated by Florian Schybilski)

14:30 – 15:30 – Closing Remarks by Florian Schybilski, Reflections,

General Assembly and Election

Abstracts and Bios

Panel I: Translating Modernities

Temptation and Anxiety of Translating Revolution – Bidyut Boruah, University of Delhi

Three overlapping strands are noticeable in the early responses to the Russian Revolution in the Assamese periodical Chetona (1919-1928) – 1) appreciation for the revolutionary break in the Russian society and polity; 2) cautious curiosity to the news of subsequent developments in the Soviet state and society; and 3) abhorrence of the violence involved in the Revolution. The first strand related to the recognition of the mass people as a modern subject corollary to the emergent national political space. The Indian anti-colonial nationalists themselves were grappling with the notion of mass people. The cautious curiosity resulted from a socio-political as well as philosophical concern with the issue of restructuring of life and society, which emanated from a new cosmopolitan sense of the „world?. The third aspect was embedded in the apprehension regarding the „unruly? mass people, which was the emergent middle-class legacy entrenched in the hierarchies of caste, class, and gender. These strands came together to constitute a conceptual translation of the category of revolution into the vernacular language and public sphere. Though shrouded in the romantic valorisation of the revolutionary legacy dating back to the French Revolution, the translation caused an aporia because of the dominance of the „ideology of ascpriptive hierarchy? in the nationalist arena. The aporia was quite apparent in the ambiguous connotation, which the vernacular term for revolution biplav carried across from its sanskritic etymology. The paper will end with a coda on how the narrative of the conceptual translation would be incomplete without taking into account its correlation with literary translation. In this context, early reception and translation of Leo Tolstoy?s late career and his religio-philosophical concerns provides an important clue. In the circulation of the figure of Maharshi Tolstoy (Tolstoy the great sage) and the related translations lie the desire to discipline the revolutionary unruliness.

Embodying Contact Zones – Melinda Niehus-Kettler, Universität Potsdam

In 2021, a public body added duine de dhath to the Irish lexicon; it is a literal translation of person of colour. Ola Majekodunmi suggested the addition. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants “felt” the hitherto used terms were “outdated” and “[did] not refer to someone like [herself]” – among them are expressions that translate as coloured person and blue person respectively as well as an fear dubh, which “could refer to a man" “with black hair” (nota bene, if capitalised, it refers to “the devil”) (Carroll). The adaption indicates the “evolution of concepts" and “Ireland’s transition from a mono-ethnic society to one with growing African, Asian and Latino communities’” (Carroll). Above all else, it exemplifies how our (hi)stories and languages are begotten, nurtured, and manifestations of our bodily experience/s, e.g. emotions that re-/generate (metaphorical) concepts, everyday and institutional discourses, practices, and lacks of self-/representations (Ahmed; Merleau-Ponty; Lakoff and Johnson). These also effect and affect phenomena such as dichotomies intrinsic to our belief, value, and evaluative systems – and, in turn, our bodily experience/s again (Foucault). All of these (embodied) elements of our power structures contribute to and constitute our perceived identities as well as our affective makeup and knowledge in terms of

somebody or something.

This presentation offers reflections on how human identities can be conceived of as embodying interpersonal and intrapersonal “contact zones” (Pratt). It extends ideas on why our selves seem to remain unfamiliar objects shaped by forms of violence; it illustrates how any alteration and/or form of resistance, e.g. a change in our language use, has an often underestimated impact on all of the other elements of our (post-)colonial power structures. By conceptualising these elements as forming (trans-generational) percept cycles I explore ways of defamiliarising concepts, e.g. our implicit concepts of Otherness.

Ukrainian feminisms between multiple modernities and multiple Europes – Vira Sachenko, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

I would like to present a part of my dissertation research which concerns the translations of feminist texts around the collapse of the Soviet Union (late 80’s-90’s) into the context of the independent Ukraine. My aim is to outline how a transnational translational zone that would come to define the epistemological ground of Ukrainian feminism was formed. Secondly, I will present a few key "untranslatable" terms that are still entangled in this zone today, spurring a conflict in the proliferating feminisms of the post-Maidan/war-torn Ukraine.

My scholarship is positioned in relation to the decolonial conversation about Europe’s East (Madina Tlostanova, Redi Koobak, Manuela Boatc?, Laura Doyle, Mariya Mayerchyk and Olga Plakhotnik) and also in relation to recent translation theory (Emily Apter, Barbara Cassin, Aamir Mufti, Nicole Doerr, Doris Bachmann-Medick, Dipesh Chakrabarty). I am also immersed in the work of decolonial psychoanalysis (Frantz Fanon, Octave Mannoni, Ranjana Khanna, Karima Lazali, Derek Hook, Robert Beshara), which infuses my thinking about the split subjectivities/identities of colonial subjects.

Panel II: Locomotive Modernities

“It’s a good car, it’s just broken down” – Michelle Stork, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt 

The automobile is often tied to an understanding of modernity as “progress” and “development” (Green-Simms 2009, 10). In accordance, road narratives have been read as perpetuating ‘modern’, allegedly ‘American’ ideals such as freedom, individuality and speed (Brigham 2015, 187). However, numerous road narratives have started to emerge that allow for a re-examination of this dominant narrative (cf. Green-Simms 2009, 10). Taking up the idea that modernity “is produced in the encounters […] in the contact zone”, I draw on David Batty’s web-series Black As to interrogate alternative narratives of modernity in the Indigenous Australian context. I argue that the social relations between the three Yolngu men and their adopted white brother expressed through driving and hunting together undermine the narrative of modernity in which individuality, speed and reliability take centre stage, proposing instead a more communal, slow and inventive form of being together. 

Black As represents a particular form of Indigenous automobility in relation to discourses of modernity. The run-down cars require constant attention and are testament to creativity stemming from necessity as well as lacking materials (cf. Stotz 2001, Young 2001). Only drawing on road movie imagery of open vistas occasionally, the series focuses on incidents which slow down the hunting trip and require the men to work out solutions together. Thus, the mechanicalness of the automobile is foregrounded: various elements that constitute a car are removed, replaced, reimagined. The car itself may therefore be understood as a translated object, as unusual materials are repurposed, thus questioning Eurocentric notions of what a car should look like. Consequently, values like thriftiness, community and slowness – as opposed to speed, autonomy and “progress” – are associated with the automobile in Black As.

Train Travel as a Site for Encountering Modernity – Sheelalipi Sahana, University of Edinburgh

In the decades leading up to India’s independence and the decades that followed in the post-colony, the anxiety surrounding the future of a new nation translated into the consecration of a “new modernity” through a “new patriarchy” (Partha Chatterjee). A dichotomisation of spheres into private/public tasked (Hindu) women as keepers of the home’s “essence” while men commanded the material terrain of the world outside. Muslim women were left out of this hegemonic nation-building process due to their perceived “nonmodern” status (Mahua Sarkar) which effaced their subjectivity and excluded them from the modern nation. Women challenged these spatial boundaries by crossing them as “participants in a dialogic process” (Priyamvada Gopal) with enforced modernity. 

This paper will analyse the ways in which Muslim women wrote and conceptualised their ‘encounter’ with modernity. In the short stories of Ismat Chughtai and Rashid Jahan, writers who were part of the Progressive Writers Movement, this paper will find the train (an iconoclastic image of modernity in the colony) to be a site for the aforementioned ‘dialogue’. By travelling on the train (in a zenana compartment), the women in the texts perform their vehicular gender to assert their discomfort with hegemonic nationalism. The train becomes a “contact zone” (Pratt) between tradition and modernity, with women as active participants in configuring an alternate, vernacular modernity. This ‘contact’ through train travel denotes  resistance to bhadralok (genteel) society’s neo-colonial agenda to keep women inside the material space of the home. By writing and publishing these stories, Jahan and Chughtai contested the patriarchal genre conventions of travel writing that were Eurocentric and malecentric. The women’s travel narratives operate as “autoethnographic expressions” that “engage with the colonizer’s terms” (Pratt) to write back Muslim women’s subjectivities. I will argue that autoethnographic travel writing facilitated a locomotive site for this modern encounter.

Re-Documenting the US Invasion of Panama – Stephen Woo, Brown University

Despite its central role in both the flow of global capital and twentieth-century American imperialism, the Panama Canal remains underexplored beyond the realm of popular history. Panamanian filmmakers have started to grapple with not just the legacy of the waterway, but the untold way in which the canal—from its construction to ensuing struggles for its control—influenced the historical development of cinema and media broadly. This essay unpacks that story via the 2018 feature Diciembres (dir. Enrique Castro Ríos), whose narrator indeed asks a series of metafilmic questions beginning with a simple, if archetypal, one: “What is an image?” Ríos seeks his answer as he narrativizes the 1989 US invasion of Panama. The visual documentation of this trauma by the American military itself bears a direct inheritance, the film contends, as it reappropriates and redeploys this archive, to earlier media taken on the isthmus, including, even, an 1875 visit to the region by Eadweard Muybridge. The narrator of Diciembres, a photographer and father of a multiracial family, dies in the 1989 attack, yet his (mediatized) ghost will nonetheless guide his son and the viewer during these transtemporal crossings. Following this journey, I argue that the film, along with the Panama Canal Zone it represents, demonstrates yet transgresses the notion of a “contact zone” within post/colonial imaginaries. I extend the application of “contact zones” to suggest that multimedia composition across historical or temporal locations creates a point of contact that then becomes a site for what Mary Louise Pratt calls “transculturation.” In this way, I probe what it means for the son, an Afro-Panamanian child and subject of New Empire, to wield his father’s camera against the legacy of the cinematographic apparatus in his nation.

Panel III: Performative Modernities

Making Brecht UnBrechtian – Souradeep Roy, Queen Mary University of London

This paper looks at the practice of rupantor in the Bengali group theatre movement as a process of translation in which “the original text, as well as the recipient tradition in which it is being adapted undergoes a transformation” (Roy 2000, 320). By building on my previous engagement with Walter Benjamin’s idea of “translatability” (2004, 254) and Emily Apter’s idea of translation as “authorized plagiarism” (2013, 15) with respect to Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay’s (1933-1983) adaptation of Chekhov, I will, in this paper, focus on his adaptation of Bertolt Brecht. The contemporary critical reaction to the adaptations in Bengali (by theatre critics Samik Bandyopadhyay and Pabitra Sakar, as well as Bandyopadhyay’s collaborator, Rudraprasad Sengupta), which has been reproduced in later critical accounts (Arundhati Banerjee 1990), called the adaptations “unBrechtian.” This fundamentally misunderstands the role of theatre translation itself where, unlike a reading public for a book, the theatre has to speak to an audience in the here and now of the performance. I will argue that it was necessary to unmake Brecht in order to respond to the challenge of staging Brecht in Bengali. Calling this fundamental departure from the original in stage adaptations as an enabling process, I will show how this is inevitable under the material conditions of producing art in, what Trotsky has described as “combined and uneven development” (2008, 4) of capital. Relying more on the insights into Warwick Research Collective’s (2015) idea of world literature as a system, this paper will demonstrate concepts such as cosmopolitanism or postcolonial difference, as seen in recent studies on world literature from India. especially centred around Bombay (Nerlekar and Zecchini 2017), are not always adequate to understand material conditions for staging European theatrical texts into Bengali in the 1960s and 70s.

Performing Borders – Claudia Sackl, Universität Wien

In modern Europe, the (figure of the) border constitutes a (physical and discursive) site of contestation. On the one hand, the by now widespread rhetoric of the ‘fortress Europe’ and discourses of ‘closed borders’ invoke an imagery of the border as a static, spatial fact of separation. In contrast to this, my paper focuses on the performativity of borders (Rosello/Wolfe 2017) and conceptualises the border as a zone of contact, interchange and translation (Pratt 1991, Strathern 2004, Butler 2009), but also as a site for the negotiation of (often unequal) power relations, processes of racialisation and ‘regimes of mobility’ (Glick Schiller/Salazar 2013).

Informed by postcolonial, African European and mobility studies, my paper interrogates the mutual constitution of borders, im/mobility, identity and belonging in contemporary Anglo-German literature by Afrodiasporic authors such as Olumide Popoola or Sharon Dodua Otoo and investigates how the selected representations of border encounters unsettle the familiar, hegemonic accounts of im/mobility and ‘motility’ (Kaufmann/Bergman/Joye 2004: Which subjects are imagined as capable of which kind of movement?) and ‘contingent belonging’ (Espinoza Garrido et al. 2020: Which subjects are imagined as belonging to/in Europe based on which conditions?) created and perpetuated within eurocentric modernity and “modern practices and institutions of mobility” (Seiler 2009, 232).

Rather than defining borders and border crossings in structural relation to fixed geographic boundaries, I view them (and their literary representations) as dynamic processes of interaction between different social actors, socio-economic structures, cultural contexts and linguistic codes. By examining how the selected works query borders as performative and discursive productions in the contact zone – e.g. in practices such as identity or passport controls on the train, in which cultural difference is produced and translated –, I will illustrate how these acts of translation, in turn, engender racialised identities by inscribing the unfamiliar onto the bodily subject. In this context, I will also explore how the selected narratives address the untranslatable and “uncanny effects” (Rosello/Wolfe 2017, 2) of the border and its racialised regimes of mobility, thus inviting further sites of negotiation and encounter.

The Gift of Modernity – Carlos Quijon Jr, University of the Philippines 

Between 1961 to 1965, Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal received a number of Balinese paintings as a diplomatic gift from Indonesian president Sukarno. The paper will nominate the Balinese paintings as objects of modernity–particularly here as they become embodiments of national sovereignty, transnational affinities, and an emergent pan-Malayan regionalism. While Balinese paintings are conventionally seen as traditional artworks, what the paper nominates as its modernity plays out in its circulations and its economy of signification. The paintings prospect modernity as a relational signifier: the works embody a modernity of subjectivity that recognizes the painting as "Balinese" and discerns in this recognition the possibility of the works becoming a vehicle of international and regional identification and identity which as this paper will argue is equally a modern sensibility.

Panel IV – Defamiliarising Modernities

Defamiliarizing American History – Angela Benkhadda, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Native American historical fiction is uniquely situated within the contact zone of Western epistemologies of modernism and Native American world views, conceptions of history, and temporalities. Writing against teleological understandings of US-American history, embodied in settler colonial myths of ‘Manifest Destiny’, Native American authors use narrative strategies of defamiliarization. These strategies often center on the “untranslatable” (Apter), in order to render history unfamiliar and strange to readers, who, through socialization and education, have learned to understand history in patterns that, using Hayden White’s terminology, reflect eurocentric forms of “emplotment”. Indigenous American historians, such as Donna L. Akers and Susan A. Miller, have highlighted the flaws of traditional academic historiography when it comes to indigenous histories: These histories rely primarily on written archives, documenting settler perspectives. There is hence a dire need for history writing that takes into account the indigenous perspectives expressed in oral traditions. Native American historical fiction operates within this field, often combining settler colonial historical documents with Native American myths and oral traditions. In doing so, these writers appropriate the Western genre of the historical novel in order to challenge and resist settler colonial discourses on history. Focusing on two works about the Indian Removal period, Diane Glancy’s Pushing the Bear (1996) and Blake Hausman’s Riding the Trail of Tears (2011), my paper investigates how narrative strategies of defamiliarization, such as fragmentation and the inclusion of Native American languages with and without translation, are employed in order to question the claim to objective truth put forward by Western historiography and to render US-American histories strange, thus opening pathways for new understandings of history informed by Native American epistemologies.

Translation and Memory in the Humboldt Forum – Rita Maricocchi, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

This paper analyzes the video essay “Locked In and Out” by Priya Basil as a productive complication of the contemporary dialogue surrounding museums, memory and decoloniality. Commissioned by and published in conjunction with the opening of the Humboldt Forum in December 2020, the video translates across the boundaries of British and German memory cultures and victim and perpetrator positionalities, ultimately mediating Basil’s multiple perspectives and disrupting conceptions of belonging, possession, and Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Drawing on Achille Mbembe, who critically questions the discourse on repatriation when he writes, “What precisely does one want to divest oneself of? What is one seeking to repatriate and why?”, this paper argues that the obfuscation of the colonial/decolonial and colonizer/colonized binaries in the video creates a new contact zone in which various memory cultures and historical demands/responsibilities clash and grapple with each other. Within this contact zone, stolen objects from formerly colonized countries meet the rebuilt remains of a colonial Prussian castle and languages blur when the dual meanings of the words “Schloss” and “belonging(s)” are exposed. Basil ultimately subverts the space of the museum by overlaying images documenting German colonialism, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, as well as toppled statues onto the museum building, thereby intermingling colonial histories with narratives of resistance across time and space. The video portrayal of the Humboldt Forum can thus be read as a disruption in the temporal continuities Dan Hicks associates with the museum when he conceptualizes them as “devices for extending events across time.” While the museum as an institution may be tied to a singular notion of modernity, Basil’s video portrayal generates space for multiple understandings of modernity and progress. In untangling the translations in Basil’s video and engaging with contemporary debates on museums and processes of decolonization, this paper seeks to make a thoughtful contribution to the discussion on translation, modernities, and the contact zone at the 2021 GAPS Postgraduate Forum.

Ogbanje and Gender – Christina Slopek, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

“Ever since the beginning of modernity, though especially in the current phase of globalization” rife with transcultural entanglements, “practices of translation allow us to gauge relationships between and among cultures” (Borsò 2006, 9; translation mine). But whose modernity is this, and who translates what on whose terms? In the context of colonialism, once culture-specific concepts of gender were forcibly translated onto other cultures. Christian missionaries demonized queer sexual relations and gender identities in cultures which often knew fluid systems of gender (Desai 2001, 149). Thus, colonization and subsequent Anglo-Eurocentric hegemony have restricted the names available for gender identities and aim(ed) to universalize western concepts (Hawley 2001, 7). As a consequence, all ‘other’ cultures have been expected to translate their systems of gender into the western “heterosexual matrix” (Butler 1990, 7).

Non-binary author Akwaeke Emezi’s stellar debut novel Freshwater (2018) functions as a “transcultural contact zone[…]” (Ashcroft 2014, 22) within which to negotiate conceptions of gender and sexuality from a point of view anchored in Igbo ontology. Effectively, the novel performs a postcolonial revision of Anglo-Eurocentric conceptions of gender identity and queerness. Its human protagonist Ada is inhabited by a number of spirits, which have diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. The analysis will debate whether the novel conceives of Ada as transgender or as an ogbanje, an Igbo spirit being, as the novel oscillates between these two poles. My talk will look at translation of Igbo epistemologies, gender and queerness in Freshwater through queer theory and Ashcroft’s idea of the “metonymic gap” (2014), created by texts written in several languages, which allow entire cultures to meet metonymically. With regard to Freshwater, I further aim to trace how gender identity and the body are constructed and explore whether the queerness of ogbanje can and wants to be translated into English and for a non-Igbo readership at all.

Cuerpo-territorio as traveling theory/ practice – Annabelle Riedesel, University of Oxford

In my study, I seek to trace the feminist concept/ practice of 'cuerpo-territorio' as it travels from indigenous women in Latin America to feminist scholarship and practice in the Global North. In general, I am interested in traveling theory and the de-radicalization of disruptive concepts and practices. Born of communitarian feminism and rooted in cosmovisions, 'cuerpo-territorio' describes the entanglement of bodies and land, as both are attacked by the same colonial and capitalist forces and can only be freed together. By studying its use in other contexts, notably critical geography and western ecofeminism, I observe to what extent this radical idea is transformative or subject to exotization and appropriation.

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Bidyut Sagar Boruah is a Ph.D. research scholar in the Department of English, University of Delhi. His Research Topic is “Reception of Russian Literature in Assamese Public Sphere: Networks of Appreciation, Translation and the Political Milieu (1930-2000)”. For his M.Phil. Dissertation submitted in the University of Hyderabad in 2016, he had researched on the debates and discourses of translation in Assamese in the late nineteenth century. His research interest lies in translation studies; nationalism studies; vernacular modernity; public sphere in India; cosmopolitan thoughts; popular culture.

Melinda Niehus-Kettler: After living in Ireland, I worked as a freelance EFL teacher in Germany for more than ten years. I earned a two-subject Bachelor’s degree in English & American Studies and Jewish Studies in 2016 and finished my master’s course on Anglophone Literature and Culture in 2019, graduating with distinction. My thesis “Naturalising Perceived Otherness” was officially recommended for publication and nominated for the Graduiertenpreis at the University of Potsdam in 2019/ 20. Being a tutor for international students and PhD candidate, I research on patterns of violence and what I call embodied audio-visual hierarchies. Recent projects include: “Becoming One of the Others” (in Masculinities: Living In the Words of Others, edited by Hartung, Kunow, and Sweney, Bloomsbury, forthcoming) and “On Storytelling, Being Silenced, and ‘Gaps in Hermeneutical Resources’: Sharing Lived Experiences with Forms of Violence and Their Representations in Pop Culture.” Symposium: Gender and Age/Ageing in Popular Culture, University of Graz – June 2021.

Vira Sachenko is a researcher working in the areas of cultural studies, philosophy, and psychoanalysis at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen: I am working though, above all, the topics of coloniality of knowledge and power. I shall take up some of the authors’ key terms to outline the fates of Eurocentrism and the nation in the transit/appropriation of "Western" feminism in the inter-imperial context of Ukraine. I am also offering critiques and complications for the decolonial method, trying to reflect on the ways in which the decolonial option is — comfortably — institutionally embedded in academia. Translation theory offers me a platform to narrow down on the cultural within the textual work I analyse. Translating between Ukrainian, Russian, and English sources, I notice discrepancies and incongruities, some of which I argue to be "untranslatables" (Apter, Cassin) but which in fact usually get translated – a work that I consider under the moniker of "political translation" (Doerr), and which helps us analyse the “cultural maneuvers” undertaken in the feminist debates.

Michelle Stork studied English Studies, Moving Cultures, Comparative Literary Studies and History of Art at Goethe University Frankfurt and Universiteit Utrecht. She holds an M.A. in Moving Cultures – Transcultural Encounters and an M.A. in History of Art, both from Goethe University Frankfurt. Her PhD project aims at reading road narratives in fiction and film across the Anglophone world from a transcultural perspective. Since November 2020, Michelle holds a scholarship with the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes).

Sheelalipi Sahana is a doctoral candidate in English Literature at The University of Edinburgh.Her research interests lie in gender studies, life writing and postcolonial studies. For her thesis, she is working on the intersectionality of subjectivity in Progressive Writers’ fiction from India. She has previously published academic articles in Forum, Cerebration, and informal/creative articles in Feminism in India, and South Asian Today.

Stephen Woo is a third year PhD student in the department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, a film proctor at the Brown Arts Institute, and a programmer for Magic Lantern Cinema in Providence, RI. His work sits at the intersection between theories of film, trauma, and postcolonialism.

Souradeep Roy is a poet, translator, and academic. He is currently writing his dissertation, tentatively titled “Another World Had Indeed Been Staged: Theatre in Calcutta from the 1940s to the 70s” at the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London on a Principal’s Research Studentship. He has previously studied at universities of Calcutta and Delhi and at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, besides working at Ashoka University. He has been published in South Asian Review with another publication in Performance Research in process. In another life he was a journalist, organiser and performer. He hopes to one day complete his translations of Jibanananda Das and build an open access creative digital archive of the Bengali group theatre movement. He is also the Associate Editor of Almost Island, an international journal of literature based out of India.

Claudia Sackl is a doctoral student at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna (working title: Afropean Imaginaries. Diasporic Crossings in Twenty-First Century Anglophone and Germanophone Literature On and Off the Page) since 10/2020.  Since 09/2019, Sackl is the Head of the adult education institution Literarische Kurse, Vienna & Editor of their annual correspondence course on literature Fernkurs für Literatur. Sackl has also worked as a Regular lecturer at the Department of German Studies at University of Vienna since 2018. 

Carlos Quijon Jr: I am an art historian, curator, and critic. My work is on the modernity of the ideas of regionality and region-formation in Southeast Asia. Most recently, I have been looking at the affinities between Southeast Asia and Africa in the 1960s. In this research I try to think about how ideas of postcolonial sovereignty and neocolonial implication is mediated by international or transregional diplomacy. Furthermore, this paper will also look at how diplomatic relationships invest the artistic work with what Gabriel Rockhill calls the "social politicity" of art.

Angela Benkhadda is currently a PhD-student at the research training school Contemporary / Literature at the University of Bonn, Germany. Her dissertation focuses on the negotiation of temporalities and understandings of history in Native American literature. Her other research interests include postcolonial studies and the historical novel.  

Rita Maricocchi is a graduate student in the National and Transnational Studies MA program at the University of Münster where she is currently working on her thesis project “(In)coherent Manifestations of German Identity in Birgit Weyhe’s Madgermanes”. She looks forward to starting her PhD in Münster in the Fall with a project focusing on the works of Sharon Dodua Otoo and Priya Basil from a postcolonial anglophone-germanophone lens. Her additional research interests broadly include multilingual literature, adaptation studies, and the intersection of autobiographical writing and gender performance. She is particularly interested in increasing dialogue within the university about decolonial topics, reflected in her involvement in the student-initiated Arbeitskreis Postkolonialismus at WWU Münster, for which she co organizes a bilingual reading group engaging with questions of language, identity, and colonial continuities.

Christina Slopek is a PhD candidate at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. from HHU Düsseldorf, where she works as lecturer and research assistant in the department of Anglophone Studies and Literary Translation. Her principal research interests are postcolonial, queer, trauma and interspecies studies – topics which re-appear throughout talks she has given at international conferences and classes she teaches for B.A. students. Currently, Christina Slopek is working on a PhD project about psychology in anglophone fiction, on a chapter on porosity and interspecies constellations for the 2021 GAPS volume as well as on a chapter for an edited volume on psychiatry in the contemporary anglophone novel, forthcoming in 2022.

Annabelle Riedesel is pursuing an MSc in Sociology at the University of Oxford: As a white western researcher, I acknowledge that I have a limited understanding of cuerpo-territorio itself and that I am likely to reproduce the same epistemic extractivism I am trying to portray. Because of my position, I have decided to focus on the reception of the concept rather than its original practice. I conduct my analysis by tracing the publishing of papers and the online activity of (mostly) Western feminist and ecological organizations with respect to 'cuerpo-territorio' and supplement this with interviews.