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Protest and Dissent in Translation and Culture

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Protest and Dissent in Translation and Culture

Protest and Dissent
in Translation and Culture
11-13 May 2017 Warsaw

Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Though dissent and protest seem to be strongly linked with politics and with political actions, the range of their senses and uses is much broader and, as Amit Chaudhuri has noticed, dissent is inscribed in the very idea of the literary which, "in its resistance to interpretation, is a peculiar species of dissent." The common ground of protest and dissent is, very generally, a disagreement with what is, and an expression of the necessity of some change which seems to be standing behind the very gestures of dissension or protestation. This expression may take various forms and make use of various modalities coming from different cultures, states and places. Protest and dissent may sometimes be individual gestures, as seems to be the case with Melville's Bartleby's famous "I would prefer not to", though the outdoor reading of "Bartleby, the Scrivener" organized by Occupy Wall Street supporters at Zuccotti Park in New York in November 2011 was an event which renarrated the story as "resonating quite well with the mission of the OWS protest" because it not only questioned the assumed hierarchy and expressed the strength of passive resistance, but also because it was set on Wall Street. Dominance and resistance seem to be inevitably speaking through various narratives and stories we live by, the stories which are narrated and renarrated, framed and reframed in different social, political and language communities and realities, through different media and means, and translated into different contexts and languages. The notion of framing, Mona Baker claims in "Reframing Conflict in Translation", allows us "to see translational choices not merely as local linguistic challenges but as contributing directly to the narratives that shape our social world". The ways in which we name, rename, or label events, groups of people, even places have implications in the real world and may help us realize that the world is not made up of universally accepted norms, but that we also partake in negotiating its construction, its changing meanings and senses. Protest and dissent do not necessarily have to be an incentive to a revolutionary change, to a shift of the dominant, but may testify to there being what Edward Said called simply "something beyond the reach of dominating systems", something which limits power and "hobbles" it also through translatological resistance to finality.

We invite papers looking at protest and dissent from different theoretical and methodological perspectives (Translation Studies, Literary Criticism, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Discourse Analysis, Feminist and Gender Studies, Queer Theory, Philosophy, Sociology, History of Ideas, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies), papers not only theorizing protest and dissent but also papers engaged in broadly understood disagreement, disapproval, critique or resistance, potentials of conflict management and/or the educational and pedagogical dimensions of dissent. We also invite papers showing how narratives of dissent and protest (novels, poems, stories, histories, films, news, press articles, protest songs …) are renarrated/translated in different social and political contexts and the ways in which translators' choices may be oriented or disoriented. If Jacques Rancière is right saying that "the essence of politics is the manifestation of dissensus as the presence of two worlds in one", then translation, as an inevitably divided activity, may be a kind of discourse which reveals that oneness may be one of those ideas which harbour consensual dominance and the end of politics, the end of dissensual plurality and the beginning of the police which, in different disguises, finds these days its way to the streets of numerous places of the world.

We suggest the following, broad, thematic areas as issues for disputes and highly probable clashes of ideas:

  • Rhetoric(s) of protest and dissent
  • Narrating/renarrating protest and dissent
  • Dissent and protest in intercultural contexts
  • Dissent and protest in the culture of global/local politics
  • Translating protest
  • Translating dissent
  • Translation-power-resistance
  • Empowerment and translation
  • Resisting power/power of resistance
  • Discourses of dissent and protest
  • Discursive strategies of protest and dissent
  • Discursive analyses of protest and dissent
  • Pedagogy/ies of dissent
  • Manipulating protest and dissent;
  • Protest and persuasion
  • Conflict/protest/dissent
  • Translating conflict
  • Literature(s) of protest
  • Protest/dissent and media
  • Protest/attack/defense
  • Protesters/dissenters as friends
  • Protester/dissenters as enemies
  • Good guys and bad guys
  • Protest and activism
  • Activating/de-activating protest and dissent
  • Global dissents and/in translation
  • Solidarity in translation
  • Translating collectives/collective translations
Conference organisers:
  • Dr.  Agnieszka Pantuchowicz
  • Dr.  Anna Warso


Keynote Speakers

Professor Mona Baker
University of Manchester


Drawing on a recent study of the collaboration between subtitlers and filmmakers during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, this presentation will focus on the challenges posed by a fast-paced, fluid, non-hierarchical context of collaboration between relatively distinct groups (filmmakers and subtitlers) who do not interact regularly despite producing prolific output collaboratively. The discussion will also explore the difficulty of offering traditional research ‘findings' in contexts where intense human relations and experiences are unfolding and taking unpredictable directions during the research period, rendering any notion of optimal researcher distance from the object of study both unworkable and undesirable and placing issues of trust and ethics at the centre of the research agenda. These difficulties are further exasperated by the ethos of contemporary movements of collective action, where there is often no interest in maintaining a record of individual contributions to any output or even a basic hierarchical structure that prevents any member from editing a (subtitled) video after it has been published.

Mona Baker is Professor Emeritus of Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK, Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Genealogies of Knowledge: The Evolution and Contestation of Concepts across Time and Space, and co-editor, with Luis Pérez-González and Bolette Blaagaard of the Routledge series Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media. She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (Routledge, 1992; second edition 2011) and Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (Routledge, 2006), Editor of Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution (Routledge, 2016), Citizen Media and Public Spaces: Diverse Expressions of Citizenship and Dissent (co-edited with Bolette Blaagaard), the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998, 2001; second edition, co-edited with Gabriela Saldanha, 2009); Critical Concepts: Translation Studies (4 volumes, Routledge, 2009); and Critical Readings in Translation Studies (Routledge, 2010). Her articles have appeared in a wide range of international journals, including Social Movement Studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, The Translator and Target. She is founding Editor of The Translator (St. Jerome Publishing, 1995-2013), former Editorial Director of St. Jerome Publishing (1995-2013), and founding Vice-President of IATIS, the International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies (2004-2015). She posts on translation, citizen media and Palestine on her personal website,, and tweets at @MonaBaker11.

Professor Ben Dorfman
Aalborg University


At the same time that ours appears an age of increasing authoritarianism – "strong man" and right-wing tendencies becoming predominant in locales from the Turkey to the U.S. – ours may equally be an age of dissent: from millions of "pussy hat" wearer in America to pro-migrant demonstrations in Europe to defenders of a free press confronting authorities in the face of Erdogan's crackdowns in places like Ankara and Istanbul. The coexistence of authoritarianism and dissent reflects a split in political culture: those who feel left behind and their worlds somehow forgotten (worlds strongmen might preserve) versus those looking for political orders organized around various stripes of globalism and universally emancipatory ideals. This raises questions of "how do I translate my dissent such that you might understand?" – that to the extent that we might look for dialogue between opposing groups and for progress to be made for all. The short answer is that the translation of dissent can only take place in relation to universally emancipatory ideals (those held by globalist-progressive crowds). However, an international order based on nation-states has created cultures in which such ideals can be either dismissed or ignored. This reveals a challenge we need to address before translation can take place – finding discursive forms allowing us to circumvent "the nation" and in which iterations of larger humanity play the dominant part. I will speculate on what is needed to inculcate such discourses and elucidate some of the scenery and standards that lead us to such issues in the first place.

Professor Hanna Komorowska
University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw


Language is crucial for the development of individual and the social identity not only in monolingual, but also in bi- and multilingual contexts. Stages of this development, manifested through separation and new affiliation, are transmitted by verbal and non-verbal messages. Types, forms and functions of messages conveyed in language related protests will be analysed on international, national and personal planes. Linguistic means of expressing dissent, but also meaningful silences and images promoted in public and private spaces, will be explored in order to identify broad aims and specific goals pursued by groups protesting against coercive language and education policies, while personal language choices will be looked at to investigate cases of individual disaffiliation. Implications for social psychology and educational sciences will be sought, special attention being given to conflict prevention and management.

Professor Tadeusz Rachwał
University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw


Albert Camus claims in The Rebel that rebellion, when it develops into destruction, is illogical. Rebellion, in his view, is a force of life and a protest against death. This protest inevitably contains a "yes" to which it must be faithful, though it also must remain faithful to the "no" of the nihilistic passion which embraces the nothing of death. The "yes" of the protesting rebel is thus paradoxical, but it is only as long as it remains paradoxical that rebellion does not get transformed into the illogicality of destruction and become a tool in the hands of "the grimacing cohorts of petty rebels, embryo slaves all of them, who end by offering themselves for sale, today, in all the marketplaces of Europe, to no matter what form of servitude". The "yes" of Camus's protesting rebel is "insanely generous," and it is the insanity of this generosity which protects rebellion from becoming destructive by way of becoming "contaminated by resentment". In the paper I will read Camus's ontologization of protest and rebellion as forces of life in the context of 1) Nietzsche's critique of the Apollonian/Christian resentment and animosity towards life and his Zarathustra's "Yes, for the play of creating!"; 2) Thomas Carlyles's idea of "Everlasting Yea"; 3) Helen Cixous's critique of "the sacrosanct yes-men of Concept" and her reading of Molly Bloom's "I will Yes". I will, more generally, address the questions of affirmation and consensus ("Yes") as inherently dissensual categories which may only function within Jacques Rancière's paradox of acting as subjects who do not have the rights that they have and that have the rights that they have not.


Ben Dorfman is associate professor of intellectual and cultural history at Aalborg University. Ben received his Ph.D in History from the University of Kansas in 2002 and has taught at a range of institutions in both the U.S. and Europe. Currently, Ben runs the Language and International Studies program at Aalborg University. Ben's book 13 Acts of Academic Journalism and Historical Commentary on Human Rights: Opinions, Interventions and the Torsion of Politics is in print with Peter Lang, and he is additionally the author of a range of articles on human rights, cultural theory, intellectual history and philosophy of history in journals from Critical Horizons to Culture, Theory & Critique to International Social Science Review. Additionally, Ben has been an activist in a range of causes from the anti-nukes movement in the late-‘80s to demonstrations critical of intervention in Iraq in the 2000s to movements concerned with the state of global democratic culture today.

Hanna Komorowska is Full Professor of Linguistics and Language Pedagogy. As head of the curriculum development center she built a team which designed the first set of communicative syllabus documents for foreign and minority languages taught in the Polish school system. After the fall of communism she was heading the Expert Committee designing the reform of foreign language teaching in primary and secondary schools in Poland as well as the teacher education reform consisting in establishing a new system of 3-year training colleges. Former vice-President of Warsaw University, the Polish delegate for the Modern Languages Project Group of the Council of Europe, member of the EU High Level Group on Multilingualism in Brussels she is now Head of the Department of Applied Linguistics at the SWPS University and president of the European Language Label competition jury. Co-author of the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages, she publishes widely in the field of FLT methodology and teacher education.

Tadeusz Rachwał is Professor of English at the University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Warsaw. His most important books and monographs include Approaches of Infinity. The Sublime and the Social, Katowice 1993, The Nature of Tourism, Odense 1996, Labours of the Mind. Labour in the Culture of Production, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris, Wien, 2001. His numerous essays and academic papers address various issues of colonial and postcolonial studies, contemporary literary and critical theory, sociology of literature and anthropology. For the last six years he has been involved in the works of the European research network SUPI (SOCIAL UNCERTAINTY, PRECARITY, INSECURITY) with which he has published a number of essays undertaking the question of epistemological uncertainty and its relation to aesthetic, economic and political dimensions of culture. His monographic study of the ideas of property and loss and their aesthetic, ethical and philosophical significances in contemporary theoretical approaches to projects of social and political change (Precarity and Loss. On Certain and Uncertain Properties of Life and Work) was published by Springer-Verlag in 2017.




Conference registration will open on 1 March and close on 31 March 2017

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& Venue


SWPS budynek

The conference venue will be located in the main building of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, ul. Chodakowska 19/31, Warsaw.

You can also use one of the taxi services; Ele Taxi cars (22 811 11 11) can be found at the Chopin Airport just outside the terminal. 


Our Recommendation

Hotel Hetman *** is conveniently located on the east side of the Vistula river, less than 10 minutes by tram from the conference venue (tram no 26 taken in the opposite direction goes past the ZOO and across the river to stop right at the foot of Warsaw's Old Town).

The hotel offers special conference rates, guaranteed until the end of March. 

 weekday rateweekend rate
(Friday through Sunday)
single room,
breakfast included
259 PLN 159 PLN
double room,
breakfast included
299 PLN 199 PLN

In order to take advantage of the preference rate, book through the reception by e-mailing the hotel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and referencing University of Social Sciences and Humanities: SWPS.

Other Hotels

Warsaw has a good hotel base and offers a wide range of accommodation types. It is advisable to make sure that the chosen hotel is located near one of the tram lines crossing the river (preferably lines no 26 or 22).

& Photos

Conference Posters

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Conference Photos