EAJS Laboratory - Yiddish Language and Culture. A Relay Station of Modernity and Lieu de Mémoire of Postmodernity

In contemporary texts, processes of translation, retranslation, mistranslation and lost originals point to a history of Yiddish literature as an ongoing dynamic process at the intersections of remembering, forgetting and reinventing. This EAJS Laboratory at the University of Vienna aims at drawing together translation theory, reflections on the dynamics of “new world literatures” and concrete studies on Yiddish texts in the context of translation.

Yiddish literature and culture have been and are shaped to a particularly high degree by manifold processes of encounter, transfer and transmission. The dynamics in this literary field with its multiple actors (writers, translators, publishers and journalists) can be traced in the texts themselves, with “translation” taking place not only at the linguistic level but also on the level of ideas, perceptions, and concepts.

  • Yiddish texts reflecting on translation;
  • Yiddish concepts of translation and transmission (e.g. the relationship between fartaytshn and iberzetsn);
  • Staging the process of translation in fiction (the literary figure of the translator, books in translation, lost originals);
  • Translation in multilingual constellations (e.g. self-translations);
  • Circulation patterns of Yiddish literature (forms of reception in text, image and music).

Our EAJS Laboratory “Yiddish Language and Culture. A Relay Station of Modernity and Lieu de Mémoire of Postmodernity” aims at creating a dialogue between Yiddish studies, its manifold facets, and current literary and cultural theories. We intend to highlight the different translational strategies of and in Modernity and Postmodernity. Whereas Modernity can be described as a hub of exchange producing a heightened sense of entanglements, Postmodernity had to come to terms with the discontinuities and ruptures in the reception of Yiddish language and culture.

Please submit an abstract of max. 2.000 characters and a short CV to Marianne Windsperger (marianne.windsperger@univie.ac.at) and Olaf Terpitz (olaf.terpitz@univie.ac.at) by 15th June 2016. We encourage junior and senior scholars to apply, especially from Eastern and Central Europe.

Working Format of the Lab:

  • The Lab aims at an intensive and lively scholarly discourse on the topics outlined above. It will, therefore, be based on presentations that challenge and scrutinize existing notions on the epistemic potential of “translation” for Yiddish Studies and open up discussions.
  • Each presentation will have a length of max. 20 minutes.
  • Each panel will consist of two presentations that serve as point of departure for in-depth discussions based on pre-circulated texts.
  • The working languages will be English and Yiddish.

Expenses for travel and accommodation (2 nights) will be covered. We plan to publish the outcomes of the Lab.

The organizers: Olaf Terpitz, Marianne Windsperger, Gerhard Langer

13 February 2017 - 14 February 2017