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Found in Translation: Southern Europe/Norden

This project investigates the crossroads between translation and national identities, and the ways they intersect in language, literature, and other cultural productions. 

The project emphasizes the importance of inquiring about how these intersections are created, shaped, performed, and transformed as material or virtual, public or private, social or individual spaces of cultural exchange between Southern Europe and Nordic countries. Furthermore, the project questions how this exchange impact on national identities and societal models, and seeks to understand the flow and effects of a transnational dialogue between cultural integration and national diversity.

About the project

In a modern society the text and its translation constitutes a process of meaningful negotiation between cultural identities that takes place in different spaces (e.g., public and private, virtual and physical), and at any level of communication (e.g., verbal and visual). Moreover, together with the ideas and meanings of words charged with specific cultural traits, particular national ideas, values and symbols introduced in texts are transformed and resignified by the spaces and circumstances in which a translation is done and disseminated. When traveling in translation, they can be seen as domestic for one society and as foreign for another.

Furthermore, this process creates different and unique spaces of negotiation and cultural exchange for identities. As a consequence, the translation becomes a complex working space of translating identities. This space can be interpreted widely: it can include physical environment and material culture, on the one hand, and human beliefs and shared values, on the other hand. We aim to describe this space, how it is constructed and which parameters are important for it. Additionally, these questions are connected to two other associated projects at ILOS: “Traveling Texts” and “Discourses of the Nation and the National”. One of the aims of the project “Traveling texts” is “to further the understanding of the domestic and foreign and of how foreign texts and ideas change in translation”. In terms of the project “Discourses of the Nation” the opposition domestic-foreign can be described by the notion of national. We share a common ground and this project works as a link among their respective interests.


This project aims to discover what role language and literature productions in translation play in shaping and transforming national symbols, values, social and individual spaces, and how their construction, reception and adoption are mediated by cultural differences. Therefore, we are interested in analyzing how Southern European national traits and cultures represented in fiction and other cultural productions are seen/received by the Nordic audience and which impact do they have on the Nordic model of society (or vice versa: how the Nordic society is seen/received in Southern Europe). Our approach is interdisciplinary and seeks to combine approaches from different fields that could be added to our linguistic and literature background.


Scandinavia through Sunglasses.

Spaces of Cultural Exchange between Southern/Southeastern Europe and Nordic Countries

Time and place: September 28th–29th, 2017, University of Oslo

This symposium is part of two projects: Discourses of the Nation and the National, which is a comparative study of various aspects of the national across various discourses, and Found in Translation: Southern Europe/Norden, which investigates the crossroads between translation, national identities, and how their construction, reception, and adoption are mediated by cultural differences.

The symposium will discuss which southern/southeastern European national and cultural traits are represented in fiction and other cultural productions, how they are seen and received by the Nordic audience, and what impact they have on the Nordic model of society—or, vice versa, how Nordic culture and society are seen and received in southern/southeastern Europe.

Therefore, the participants are expected to address how this exchange impacts national identities and social models, and to examine the flow and effects of transnational dialogue between cultural integration and national diversity.

The symposium will discuss national imagologies from a variety of perspectives and fields. Travel books and guidebooks, foreign language learning materials, weblogs entries and press pieces, documentaries, personal interviews, and online discussions could all be material to consider to determine how identities’ negotiations shape Nordic and southern/southeastern national models in public and private spaces of communication and interchange. Any kind of interdisciplinary approach is welcome.

The papers submitted may include reflections on the following questions:

– How are Nordic societies and their national traits represented in southern/southeastern European fiction, media, art, and other public or private spaces?

– How are southern/southeastern Europe regions and countries represented in Nordic societies?

– Which national traits do Nordic and southern/southeastern countries use (or not) to define themselves, and how are they seen and depicted by others?

– How were national representations of Nordic/southern/southeastern European countries depicted in the past by citizens and foreigners?

– How do textual, visual, social, political, artistic, and other cultural translations in various media take place and reinterpret national traits between Nordic and southern/southeastern Europe regions?

– What kinds of intersections and spaces of intercultural (mis)communication do textual and other kinds of cultural translations help create?

– How does a translation help shape or modify the national image of the culture of origin and the national identity of the target culture?

– What are the political uses of Nordic/southern/southeastern European national representations when they are included in different social or cultural spaces: media, law, education, commercial and cultural productions, and others?

Please send your proposal abstract (200 to 250 words) before June 5th 2017 to the following e-mail address:


Organizers: Elizaveta Khachaturyan, Ljiljana Šarić, Álvaro Llosa Sanz

Tags: symposium
Published Feb. 25, 2016 10:49 AM - Last modified Aug. 12, 2019 11:22 AM