Call for Papers : Lost (and Found) in Translation

The Graduate Journal of Social Science (GJSS) invites original submissions for its forthcoming special issue entitled “Lost (and Found) in Translation”.

Issues relating to language difference and translation are present in social research in a variety of ways, and may have significant implications at several levels. They not only pose specific practical and technical challenges, but also raise important and exciting theoretical, epistemological, political and ethical questions about the production and circulation of academic knowledge. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage reflection and debate about issues of language difference and translation, as they impact on research in the social sciences in general, and on graduate research projects in particular.

This special issue hopes to contribute to such reflection and debate by bringing together a diverse range of articles, essays and book reviews which discuss what may be lost in translation and also what insights can be found in the process of thinking critically about practices of translation in research. Language and translation are understood in a very broad sense, referring not just to differences between tongues, but also the translation of visual or body language into written language (and vice-versa), and the relations between distinct disciplinary languages or between academic and non-academic registers. The focus is on the role and impact of language difference and translation in the process of conducting theoretical and empirical social science research, in all its different stages: literature search, the construction of an analytical framework, the collection and production of data, its analysis, and the dissemination of findings.

In line with the journal’s research focus, the aim of this special issue is to create a forum for graduate students to problematise methodological issues in ways that cut across and go beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. We are therefore looking for papers that raise and investigate questions of interdisciplinary relevance.Possible themes for papers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Politics of Language Difference and Translation: language difference and translation as sets of processes, practices and relationships which are shaped by, and which shape, micro and macro level dynamics of power and hegemony during fieldwork, in data analysis, and in the practices and structures of academic work.
  • Reflexivity and Ethics in Language Difference and Translation: the ethical issues raised by research and representation across different languages and by the role of the researcher as translator/producer of meaning. To what extent, and how, can research across languages be managed in more reflexive and ethical ways? What issues does this raise in terms of the researcher’s accountability and the production of her/his authority?
  • Language Difference and the Translation of Theories: the impact of issues of language difference and translation in shaping the ways in which ideas, concepts, theories, authors and texts circulate, and how they are read and used.
  • Language Difference and Translation in the Collection and Analysis of Data: the methodological challenges and strategies of collecting and analysing data in a foreign language (namely in terms of learning the language before, during and after fieldwork, and using interpreters), collecting and analysing data in one’s mother tongue and writing about it in other languages, and collecting, analysing and comparing data in different languages.