1st Edition

Representing Others
Translation, Ethnography and Museum

ISBN 9781905763016
Published April 29, 2014 by Routledge
210 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Cultural anthropology has always been dependent on translation as a textual practice, and it has often used 'translation' as a metaphor to describe ethnography's processes of interpretation and cross-cultural comparison. Questions of intelligibility and representation are central to both translation studies and ethnographic writing - as are the dilemmas of cultural distance or proximity, exoticism or appropriation. Similarly, recent work in museum studies discusses problems of representation that are raised by ethnographic museums as multimedia 'translations'. However, as yet there has been remarkably little interdisciplinary exchange: neither has translation studies kept up with the sophistication of anthropology's investigations of meaning, representation and 'culture' itself, nor have anthropology and museum studies often looked to translation studies for analyses of language difference or concrete methods of tracing translation practices.

This book opens up an exciting field of study to translation scholars and suggests possible avenues of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Translation as metaphor, translation as practice 

The translation of culture    

Culture as translation    

Translation without language difference? 

3. The translatability of cultures

Translatability, untranslatability and relativism 

Alterity and familiarity in ethnographic translations

4. Historical perspectives    

Colonialism and the rise of British anthropology 

Translation practices in 'classical' ethnography 

E.E. Evans-Pritchard's The Nuer  

5. Critical innovations in ethnography

Confession and the translator's preface   

Dialogical ethnography    


Thick translation      

Ethnography at home    

Ruth Behar's Translated Woman   

6. Ethnographic translations of verbal art

Early twentieth-century collectors   

The performance dimension   

The use of layers     


Translating into target-language canons 

7. Museum representations

The museum as translation   

Shifting contexts     

Ideologies of arrangement: the Pitt Rivers Museum

Faithfulness and authenticity   

Verbal interpretation in the museum  

Museums as contact zones  

8. Ethical Perspectives

Ownership and authority    

Dialogue and difference    

9. Conclusion      

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