For a special issue of the journal Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies entitled “Ireland’s: languages, translations and identities,” edited by Monica Randaccio, University of Trieste, to be released on line by July 2014.
Language can be defined as the ‘battlefield of identity’, a vehicle for debates concerned, in particular, with cultural identity and political legitimacy in modern and contemporary Ireland. Language acquired a primary importance at the time of the ‘language shift’ from Irish to English and became one of the key elements of cultural discrimination when the Protestants established themselves as the ruling class and English as the language of the country. Conversely, the Irish language, which was part of the fabric of a mythic and glorious Irish past, was viewed and investigated with mixed feelings by the proponents of the Celtic Revival. Their political nationalist agenda was, first of all, the ‘Necessity for De-Anglicising Ireland’ (1892), in Douglas Hyde’s words, in the attempt to remodel Ireland. Another view on language is that held by Northern Irish nationalist propaganda. During ‘the Troubles’, there was a strong link between Republicans and the promotion of the Irish language. As Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, argued: “the restoration of our culture must be a crucial part of the cultural struggle… the reconquest of Ireland will begin with the reconquest of the Irish language” (1987). Ideas of ‘struggle’ and ‘reconquest’ are shown both iconographically and linguistically in the murals around west and north Belfast. Language as the ‘battlefield of identity’ is thus historically defined through binary opposition: English/Irish, Protestant/Catholic, Nationalist/Unionist, coloniser/colonised.
However, the contours of ‘the language[s] of the tribe’ in twenty-first century Ireland – to paraphrase Brian Friel – have become more elusive and language has acquired a wider meaning. We invite contributions addressing language-related topics in an innovative way, in order to overcome the somewhat static linguistic, cultural and historical categories of the past. In a multidisciplinary perspective, contributions are expected to show how language challenges the canon in order to reveal the connections and divergences between received forms of national identity and what has been termed by Tina O’Toole and Jason King “the more complex nexus of Irish, European and translocational identities” (The Irish Review, Spring 2012). This will generate a different approach to the question of identity in general (i.e. a gender-oriented perspective on the notion/icon of Ireland itself), with the consequence of the need/search for a “new language”, a language of reconciliation, which is also the expression of the Other.
One of the ways of investigating this multiple cluster of themes is translation, where the local and the universal are not seen as mutually exclusive, but interdependent. Thus, translation as the ‘movement outwards’ broadens the space of experience through communication with the Other, whereas translation as the ‘movement inwards’ brings the extraneous material into one’s native language and culture, as Michael Cronin maintains in Across the Lines: Travel, Language, Translation (2000).
Essays which explore issues of language and translation in modern and contemporary Ireland are welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following areas of investigation:
- Varieties of English in Ireland: cultural implications
- Minority languages of Ireland Language, identity and globalisation in Ireland
- The language of Irish media and cinema
- Translation and the literary canon
- Translation in post-colonial Ireland
- Translation: present, past and glocal
- The role of translators and interpreters in Ireland
- Irish publishers and translation
,li>Language and gender in Ireland
Deadlines: • 15 January 2014: send working title and abstract of 500 words to Dr. Monica Randaccio , Department of Legal, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies, University of Trieste, and to Dr. Fiorenzo Fantaccini, Department of Comparative Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Florence . • 31 March 2014: finalize paper for submission to referees. Articles must comply with the editorial norms and must not exceed 12000 words, including endnotes and bibliography. All articles are published in English. We strongly suggest paper are revised by a native speaker.
Contact Monica Randaccio
Department of Legal, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies, the University of Trieste