Call for Papers

Call for papers
History and Translation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Inaugural conference of the History and Translation Network
25-28 May 2022, Tallinn

In the last decade there has been a marked growth in interest in historical research on translation and interpreting and the theoretical and methodological issues it raises. This is evident not only in the work of translation and interpreting scholars, but also in the increasing attention paid by historical disciplines such as cultural and global history to translation phenomena, and in the widespread use of translation as a metaphor or paradigm in research areas such as comparative literature, semiotics, anthropology and, more recently, memory studies – just to mention a few.

What these approaches share is the idea that acts of translation and interpretation play a crucial role in the making of history, and the historical context is essential to our understanding of these acts. Translation history thus becomes the history of the role of pivotal individuals, and of practices of intercultural mediation. It does not limit itself to comparative stylistics or the ways in which texts are transposed from foreign languages, but studies the broader cultural transfer brought about in and by translation, paying particular attention to the ways in which language itself is inscribed in history, and engages with subjects of discourse, power, and asymmetrical relations. Translation history is in this respect an essential part of (intercultural) history.

The inaugural conference of the recently founded History and Translation Network invites contributions in which translation is both a constitutive category of historical analysis and a historically specific practice. We wish to address history from a transnational and comparative perspective through the lens of translation, bringing together scholars from a wide range of disciplinary and institutional backgrounds, such as: translation and interpreting studies, history, literary studies, cultural studies, sociology, comparative studies, philology and languages, anthropology, religion, international relations, philosophy, archive studies, museum studies, etc.

Subjects for papers may include but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical and methodological issues in translation and interpreting history
  • The role of translators/interpreters in (cultural) history
  • Criteria of historical periodization: what has translation history to tell us about this?
  • Translation/interpreting, power relations, censorship
  • Global history and translation/interpreting
  • Translation/interpreting in colonial and postcolonial settings
  • Translation/interpreting in the history of religions
  • Translation/interpreting in the history of knowledge
  • Translation histories and literary histories: overlappings and divergencies
  • Translation/interpreting in war and peace (diplomacy) history
  • Translation/interpreting in the history of communication (technologies)
  • What are the data for translation/interpreting histories?
The conference will take place on the 25-28 May 2022 at Tallinn University.
The language of the conference is English. 

Keynote speakers 
  • Hilary Footitt (University of Reading)
  • Hephzibah Israel (University of Edinburgh)
  • Ronnie Hsia (Pennsylvania State University)

Submitting a proposal

We welcome both individual papers as well as panel proposals.

  • Individual paper proposals should be ca 300 words long.
  • If you are interested in organising a thematic panel involving 3-4 papers, please submit a preliminary panel proposal with the topic of the panel and a brief description (ca 100 words). If the preliminary proposal is accepted we will ask a full panel proposal with title, panel description (ca 200 words), panelists and their paper’s proposal (ca 300 words). 

All proposals should be accompanied by short bios (ca 100 words) of the presenters.

Please send all proposals via email to:

  • 31 August 2021: Preliminary panel proposal

  • 30 September: Acceptance of preliminary panel proposal
  • 31 October: Full panel proposal
  • 31 October: Individual paper proposal
  • 10 December: Acceptance of individual paper proposals and full panel proposals
  • 1 February - 30 April 2022: Registration

The conference is organized by the History and Translation Network in collaboration with the project Translation in History, Estonia 1850-2010: Texts, Agents, Institutions and Practices, funded by the Estonian Research Council.

Organizing committee

Daniele Monticelli
Anne Lange
Christopher Rundle
Pekka Kujamäki

Scientific committee

Anne Lange (Tallinn)
Chris Rundle (Bologna)
Daniele Monticelli (Tallinn)
Hephzibah Israel (Edinburgh)
Hilary Footitt (Reading)
Larisa Schippel (Vienna)
Lieven D’hulst (Leuven)
Michael Schreiber (Mainz)
Michele Sisto (Pescara)
Michele Troy (Hartford)
Outi Paloposki (Turku)
Paul Cohen (Toronto)
Pekka Kujamäki (Graz)
Vicente Rafael (Washington)

Please feel free to circulate this CFP.