The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism

ISBN 9781138555686
Published June 10, 2020 by Routledge
562 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism provides an accessible, diverse and ground-breaking overview of literary, cultural, and political translation across a range of activist contexts.

As the first extended collection to offer perspectives on translation and activism from a global perspective, this handbook includes case studies and histories of oppressed and marginalised people from over twenty different languages. The contributions will make visible the role of translation in promoting and enabling social change, in promoting equality, in fighting discrimination, in supporting human rights, and in challenging autocracy and injustice across the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, East Asia, the US and Europe.

With a substantial introduction, thirty-one chapters, and an extensive bibliography, this Handbook is an indispensable resource for all activists, translators, students and researchers of translation and activism within translation and interpreting studies.

Table of Contents


Notes on Contributors

1. ‘Introduction: Translation and Activism in the Time of the Now’

I. Theorising Translation and Activism

2. ‘Theory, Practice, Activism: Gramsci as a Translation Theorist’

3. ‘Activist Translation, Alliances and Performativity: Translating Judith Butler’s Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly into Italian’

4. ‘Farhadpour, Prismatically Translated: Philosophical Prose and the Activist Agenda’ and ‘Morad Farhadpour: A Biographical Sketch’ ; ‘Thought/Translation,’

5. ‘Translating Marx in Japan: Yoshimoto Taka’aki and Japanese Marxism’;Yoshimoto Taka’aki, from ‘Contemporary Times and Marx’

II. The Interpreter as Activist

6. ‘Okyeame Poma: Exploring the Multimodality of Translation in Precolonial African Contexts’

7. ‘Translator, Native Informant, Fixer: Activism and Translation in Mandate Palestine’

8. ‘Translation in the War-Zone: The Gaza Strip as Case Study’

III. The Translator as Activist

9. ‘Translating Mourning Walls: Aleppo’s Last Words’

10. ‘Resistance, Activism and Marronage in Paul Bowles’s Translations of the Oral Stories of Tangier’

11. ‘Translators as Organic Intellectuals: Translational Activism in Pre-Revolutionary Iran’

12. ‘Translating for Le Monde diplomatique en español: Disciplinary Norms and Activist Agendas’

IV. Bearing Witness

13. ‘Written on the Heart, in Broken English’

14. ‘Writing as Hospitality: Translating the Fragmentary in Arabic and English’

15. ‘Joint Authorship and Preface Writing Practices as Translation in post-‘Years of Lead’ Morocco’

16. ‘Activist Narratives: Latin American Testimonies in Translation’ 

V. Translation and Human Rights

17. ‘The Right not to Have an Interpreter in Criminal Trials: The Irish Language as a Case Study’

18. ‘The Right to Understand and to be Understood: Urban Activism and US Migrants’ Access to Interpreters’

19. ‘Feminism in Translation: Reframing Human Rights Law Through Transnational Islamic Feminist Networks’

VI. Translating the Vernacular

20. ‘Against a Single African Literary Translation Theory’

21. ‘The Single Most Translated Short Story in the History of African Writing: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and the Jalada Writers Collective’

22. ‘The Dialectics of Dissent in Postcolonial India: Vrishchik (1969-73)’

23. ‘Bengali Dalit Discourse as Translational Activism: Studying a Dalit Autobiography’

VII. Translation, Migration, Refugees

24. ‘What Is Asylum? Translation, Trauma, and Institutional Visibility’

25.‘Citation and Recitation: Linguistic Legacies and the Politics of Translation in the Sahrawi Refugee Context’

26. ‘Resistant Recipes: Food, Gender and Translation in Migrant and Refugee Narratives’ 

VIII. Translation and Revolution

27.‘Late-Qing Translation (1840-1911) and the Political Activism of Chinese Evolutionism’

28. ‘‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’: Exploring the ‘Warrior’ Lu Xun’

29. ‘The Political Modes of Translation in Iran: National Words, Right Sentences, Class Paragraphs’

30. ‘Civil Resistance through Online Activist Translation in Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement’

31. ‘Afterword: Postcolonialism, Activism, and Translation’


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Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of Writers and Rebels: The Literatures of Insurgency in the Caucasus (2016). Her translations include After Tomorrow the Days Disappear (2016), and Prose of the Mountains (2015). She is Professor, Islamic World and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham.

Kayvan Tahmasebian is a Marie-Curie Fellow at the University of Birmingham. He is a poet, critic, and the author of Isfahan’s Mold (Goman, 2016), Lecture on Fear and Other Poems (Radical Paper Press, 2019), and co-translator of High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (The Operating System, 2019).


"This volume provides a staggering number of much needed and, in many instances, underrepresented voices, perspectives, and trajectories that question, unsettle and reassess the interrelated and largely uncharted connections between translation and activism in the globalized world. The wide-ranging inclusiveness and accessibility of the contributions make of this work a most welcome and inspiring resource for instructors, translators, activists, students, and general readers alike."

Samia Mehrez, American University in Cairo, Egypt


"The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism is a mindmover. The translational activists in this volume theorize, witness, and interpret the literary and the vernacular, and transport us to a multitude of spaces globally. Every piece testifies to the possibilities of transformative translation and activism. The editors have created a significant, spirited, and stirring handbook for students, scholars, educators, practitioners, and readers. In an increasingly divided world, where translation and activism are fundamental, this is an indispensable volume for our times."

Nathalie Handal, Columbia University, USA


"A note on the timeliness of the volume’s publication. With the current rise of movements of resistance and abolition, as well as the challenges of living, relating, and organizing under the conditions of a global pandemic, rethinking modes of activism on a transnational scale could not be more relevant. It is encouraging and inspiring to see that activists have for centuries grappled with ways to challenge the status quo in language and across borders, and are continuing to do so in the highly charged present."

Yana Makuwa, Barricade, Sep. 24, 2020

"The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism provides a comprehensive overview of the latest research on translation and activism. [...] In sum, the 31-chapter volume is certianly of value for translators, activists, students, and researchers who are interested in translation and activism."

Xiaorui Wang, University of Leeds, UK, John Benjamins Publishing Company