This conference is the second in a series designed to explore the connections between notions of

translation (as practice and object of inquiry, but also as concept and master trope for

intercultural dynamics) and the networks of identity that have historically developed around and

across the Atlantic. It derives its pretext and rationale from a set of (ostensibly disparate)

commemorative opportunities afforded by the year 2017.

These include:

  • The fifth centenary of Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses (1517);

  • The centenary of the October Revolution (1917);

  • The centenary of the US decision to enter the Great War (1917).

The first two of these events, unquestionably momentous for world history, are apparently

remote from our Atlantic emphasis – but their respective consequences for the geopolitics of the

early modern and / or modern world, within their different timespans, were crucially to include a

transatlantic focus. Indeed, forms of belief, and ensuing forms of action, derived from the

overwhelming impact of the Reformation have always been recognised as crucial to many of the

transits from Old to New World that have shaped western history since the early 17th century.

Within the narrower range proper to one single elapsed century, the capacity of the Russian

Revolution of 1917 (together with the political conformations to which it gave rise) to shape

ideology and action through either adherence or rejection was made evident in the stark political

alignments that marked most of the past century – again, with crucial consequences for some of

the allegiances and differences that have developed around the Atlantic space.


The dynamics generated by these relations are brought into starker relief when we

consider the complex historical rapport between America and the world, and more particularly

between America and Europe. The third event listed above offers a signal opportunity for

reflecting on such bonds, especially at a juncture when many assumptions that were taken for

granted over the past century are being pondered anew.


Translation can be found to intersect productively with any consideration of the above.


First of all, the historical designs in question had a lot to do with verbal transits. These range

from the discussions about the dignity of vernaculars, compounded by the challenges posed by

translating God's word, that marked the history of the Reformed churches and their role in

shaping modern cultures; to the linguistic implications of the internationalism of political

movements inspired by the October revolution, in its worldwide train of consequences; to the

verbal processing of the Great War in the age when newsprint was acquiring an unprecedented


Secondly, the place that translation has recently acquired in the panorama of inquiry of the

humanities and social sciences has made it a master trope for intercultural designs, and hence a

source of conceptual footholds for revising the complex relations introduced in human

experience by the historical developments commemorated in 2017.

the conference

CETAPS – Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies

Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

Via Panorâmica, s/n

4150-564 PORTO


+351 22 0427659

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