9226 - Beyond Incommensurability across Cultures and Languages [B] Prof. Regna Darnell
This course will consider problems of translation and calibration across cultures and languages. Although the question of incommensurability often is posed in terms of linguistic relativity and the various inadequacies of translation, the mis-communications inherent in contrasts across larger cultural and semantic systems of thought or worldviews are, if anything, more insidious because often unrecognized. Oral tradition, still the basic mode of transmitting traditional knowledge across generations for much of the world, contrasts sharply with the European mainstream in the making and interpretation of meaning. Cross-cultural examples will be juxtaposed to theorists including Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Johannes Fabian, Edward Sapir, Z. Todorov, and Michael Taussig to establish methods of social analysis that increase the possibility of adequate translation and effective cross-cultural communication.
Douglas Hofstadter, Le Bon Ton de Marot
John Leavitt, Linguistic Relativities
Dennis Tedlock, The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation
Regna Darnell, Invisible Genealogies, MS in progress
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