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Title: Theorizing Untranslatability: Temporalities and Ambivalences in Colonial Languages
Authors: 陳佩甄
Chen, Pei Jean
Date: 2017-01
Issue Date: 2018-01-30 10:51:44 (UTC+8)
Abstract: In this paper, I tend to redefine the colonial ambivalence that was experienced by the colonized as “untranslatable.” The notion of “untranslatability” is articulated with the social action of cultural translation, with which one takes action when encountering the foreign and representing the foreign; yet I propose to use the notion of “untranslatability” as a critique of what Naoki Sakai terms “the regime of translation.” To demonstrate this proposition, I will revisit the crucial and specific social fact in Taiwanese and Korean colonial history—the formation of modern languages. I propose that to problematize the unity of a language is to raise the question of temporality and the temporalization of forms through which temporality is expressed in those social spaces whose appearance has been spatialized by the imperial capitalist state. The ambivalences in the usages of language that I’m going to discuss cannot be demonstrated via any version of translation, which shows an aspect of the untranslatability of colonial texts. And the very condition of language and its representation in literary works is specific to colonial Taiwan and South Korea. Furthermore, I will revisit colonial modernity—with an adequate account of the crucial space-time relationship represented by both cultural translation and the untranslatability in the colonial literary texts—by reading and comparing the self-reflection and multi-lingual practices in colonial Taiwanese writer Wu Yung-fu’s first literary work, “Head and Body” (1933), and colonial Korean writer Pak T’aewŏn’s novella, “A Day in the life of Kubo the Novelist ” (1934). These two colonial writings demonstrate the specificity of modernization and address the complex issues of modernity under Japanese rule, and at the same time raise questions about cultural production in relation to their political context, language construction, and cultural resistance.
Relation: < 2017 MLA Annual Convention: Boundary Conditions.>, Modern Language Association, Philadelphia, USA, January 5-8, 2017.
Data Type: conference
Appears in Collections:[臺灣文學研究所] 會議論文

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