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Cultural Translation in Literature and the Contemporary Museum : the Case of Art and Architecture in the Middle-East, and The Satanic Verses

Faculté de gestion: Faculté des lettres

Responsable(s): Martine Hennard Dutheil, Kornelia Imesch Oechslin
Intervenant(s): -

Période de validité: 2014 -> 2014

Pas d'horaire défini.


Semestre de printemps
2 heures par semaine
28 heures par semestre

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais, français
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


Cultural Translation in Literature and the Contemporary Museum :
the Case of Art and Architecture in the Middle-East and The Satanic Verses

Prof. Kornelia Imesch Oechslin (histoire de l'art contemporain) and Prof. Martine Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère (English and Comparative Literature)

Printemps 2015/Spring 2015
Jeudi 10h-12h/Thursday 10h-12h, Anthropole room 5021

PLEASE NOTE that this semi-block course starts at 10 :00 sharp, and finishes at 12 :00.
It therefore only unfolds over 9 weeks (instead of 13) + study trip (for Sinergia participants only)

« Twentieth-century identities no longer presuppose continuous cultures or traditions. (...) A whole structure of expectations about authenticity in culture and in art is thrown into doubt » (James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture, 14)

« The word 'translation' comes, etymologically, from the Latin for 'bearing across'. Having been borne across the world, we are translated men. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately to the notion that something can also be gained. » (Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands)

The twenty-first century is characterized by un unprecedented expansion of mobility and communication on a global scale. The aim of this interdisciplinary seminar is to examine what becomes of the valorized and even sacralized ideas of origin, "authenticity", truth and (self-)identity when they begin to travel and are introduced and « translated » into cultural contexts that are foreign to the « grand narratives » (Jean-François Lyotard) underpinning them. How are individuals, institutions, cultural practices, texts, genres, art forms, architectural or urbanistic concepts and world-views transformed when they are transported to a different linguistic and cultural space and socio-economic location? And what happens in particular when one of the key institutions of « authenticity » and authentification, the museum as a Western « invention », is introduced in non-Western societies in which museums are alien and hence become a « translated » phenomenon ?

Starting from the controversy and multiple implications spurred by Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses (1988), which we will read alongside Homi K. Bhabha's The Location of Culture (1994), a key text theorizing cultural hybridity, the interdisciplinary course will discuss and analyze the performative and dialectical processes and phenomena at work in the literature and literary theory of « migrancy », but also in the realms of arts, architecture and architectural theory in the Arab context of the Middle East.

Key critical texts in the fields of Postcolonial, Translation and Museum Studies will be mobilized for this purpose, and our discussions will be framed by the theoretical approaches developed by Roland Robertson, Benedict Anderson, James Clifford, Edward Said, Homi K. Bhabha, Arjun Appadurai, Zygmunt Bauman, Blaise Galland, Rem Koolhaas, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Luc Boltansky and Eve Chiapello among others.


19 février / 19 February
presentation of seminar and Sinergia project ; course programme; practicalities; (circulate sign-up sheet for oral presentations); course packet/material (texts, articles, bibliography) available on Moodle (give Moodle key); validations etc.

26 février / 26 February
Two-fold introduction on the key issues and concepts and main aims of the seminar :
Key concepts in postcolonial studies and the literature of 'migration' - the crisis of 'the transcendent regime of authenticity' (origin, essence, identity etc.) in the age of globalisation. Cultural translation and The Satanic Verses
Students planning to validate the course will give an oral presentation (+ handout) on a relevant aspect of the seminar, depending on their discipline (in English ou en français)

5 mars / 5 March
Contemporary postcolonial theory and the 'migrant's view of the world' : Salman Rushdie and Homi Bhabha in dialogue
(excerpts from the novel and The Location of Culture)

12 mars / 12 March
The poet and the prophet in conflict: sacred vs. profane writing in The Satanic Verses, and the deconstruction of binary oppositions
(excerpts from the novel, with a focus on the satanic verses episode, and relevant chapter in Origin and Originality)

19 mars / 19 March
No seminar: excursion in the Greater Middle East

26 mars / 26 March
No seminar: excursion in the Greater Middle East

2 avril / 2 April
Can the global be 'authentic' and can the fake be 'genuine' ? Architectural theories and practices in a post-modern and post-post-colonial age

9 avril / 9 April
Easter holiday

16 avril / 16 April
The "generic city", strategies of homogenization and authentification in a non-Western context. The case of the Greater Middle East : Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Doha, Qatar

23 avril/ 23 April
Dealing with 'authenticity' and cultural translation in the contemporary museum : the case of Doha, Qatar

30 avril/ 30 April
The search for the "authentic" in artistic theory and practice in the Arab world : the case of Reem Al Ghaith

7 mai/ 7 May
Final discussion and presentation of the related Sinergia conferenceplanned for December 2015. Doctoral students are welcome to present their research in progress.


Présentation orale, synthèse écrite


BIBLIOGRAPHY (in progress)

Primary texts:
Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. London: Viking, 1988 (latest edition: Random House paperback 2008)
Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

Secondary Literature:
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1991.
Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large - Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minnesota:
University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin. Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies. London & New York: Routledge, 1998.
Bachmann-Medick, Doris. The Trans/National Study of Culture: A Translational Perspective.
Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter, 2014.
Basar, Shumo and Antonia Carver. With/Without. Spatial Products Practices and Politics in the Middle East. New York: Bidoun Books, 2008.
Bassnett, Susan and André Lefevere. Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation. Clevedon and Philadelphia: Multilingual Matter, 1998.
Bassnett, Susan. Translation Studies. Routledge (New Accents) 4th ed., 2013.
Belting, Hans, Andrea Buddensieg and Peter Weibel. The Global Contemporary and Rise of
the New Art Worlds. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2013.
Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.
--- ed. Nation and Narration. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Boltansky, Luc and Eve Chiapello, Le Nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Paris, Gallimard, NRF-Essais, 1999.
Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors. Oxford & New York: Oxford U.P., 1995.
Boullata, Kamal. Belonging and Globalisation. Critical Essays in Contemporary Art &
Culture. London: Saquibooks, 2008.
Bouman, Ole, Mitra Khoubrou and Rem Koolhaas. Al Manakh. Dubai Guide Moutamarat, Vol. 12. Amsterdam: Archis Foundation, 2007. (Al Manakh. Gulf Cont'd, 2010.)
Clifford, James. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1988.
---. Traveling Theories, Traveling Theorists, edited with Vivek Dhareshwar, Inscriptions 5, 1989.
---. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1997.
Dakhila, Jocelyne. Créations artistiques contemporaines en pays d'Islam. Paris: Éditions Kimé, 2006.
Elsheshtawy, Yasser. The Evolving Arab City - Tradition, Modernity and Urban Development. London and New York: Routledge, 2011.
---. Planning Middle Eastern Cities. An Urban Kaleidoscope in a globalizing World. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
Enwezor, Okwui. Großausstellungen und die Antinomien einer transnationalen globalen
Form, in: Ikonologie der Gegenwart, Gottfried Böhm and Horst Bredekamp, eds., München: Wilhlem Fink Verlag, 2009, pp. 41-67.
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth. Cambridge Mass., : Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2009.
Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère, Martine. Origin and Originality in Salman Rushdie's Fiction
Bern: Peter Lang, 1998.
Heusser, Hans-Jörn and Kornelia Imesch, eds. Art&Branding. Principles-Interaction Perspective. Zurich: Swiss Institut for Art Research, 2006.
Isenstadt, Sandy and Kishwar Rizvi, Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and
Politics in the Twentieth Century (Studies in Modernity and National Identity). Washington: University of Washington Press, 2008.
Koolhaas, Rem. The Generic City. Amsterdam : Sikkens Foundation, 1995.
Mignolo, Walter D. Enacting the Archives, Decentring the Muses. The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and the Asian Civilization Museum in Singapore. IBRAAZ Magazine, Platform 006, November 2013.
Mosquera, Gerardo, Jean Fisher and Lisa Phillips. Over Here: International Perspectives on
Art and Culture (Do

Exigences du cursus d'études

Selon règlement de la Faculté

Informations supplémentaires


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