Dis-Unity and Diversity

  • Feminist work in translation and translation studies not only extends the bounds once posted by gender difference and confronting assumptions that derived from them; it is beginning to explore “Polysexual” and “multigendered” approaches.
  • More is needed than just an appreciation of diversity.
  • Two aspects of feminist work in translation:
    1. Its current diversity and dis-unity.
    2. Factors underlying this state of affairs.
  • Non-reductive differentiation is doubly present in feminist approaches to translation studies.
  • Feminist thinkers acknowledge three factors in their work in order to avoid generalizations and the dissemination of culturally and politically questionable material about women or feminisms, and to thus negotiate the difficult ideological and cultural rifts that divide women:
    1. Identity politics
    2. Positionality
    3. Historical dimension.
  • Disunity in feminist work: undermining consensus.
    1. Mainstream “translatese” of third world material: “with-it translatese” misrepresents view of third world women’s texts.
    2. Elitist translation: these translations are addressed to a small academic elite that is already bilingual and can at most marvel at the linguistic virtuosity of both author and translator.
    3. Hypocritical translation: implanting feminist thought that may not exist in the ST.
  • Factors motivating “responsible and desirable” disunity.
    1. Identity politics: acknowledges the academic’s personal interests and needs.
    2. Positionality: further relativizes the situation by making identity relative to a constantly shifting context, to a situation that includes a network of elements involving others.
    3. Historical dimension of scholarly discourse: used by Alcoff to articulate a concept of gendered subjectivity.