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“Words Are Signals”: Language, Translation, and Colonization in Brian Friel’s Translations

Adineh Khojastehpour & Behnam Mirzababazadeh Fomeshi

Independent Researchers

Volume 8, Number 1, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Abstract

The Irish playwright, Friel is among the most prominent contemporary writers. In his works he deals mainly with socio-cultural issues in Ireland. His 1980 play, Translations focuses on the problem of language and cultural colonization in Ireland. Hailed as a postcolonial work, the play is not limited to the depiction of the problem; it presents some suggestions and probable solutions to the problem, especially with a different look at the role and significance of “translation”. While showing a tangible picture of colonial struggles, it tries not to depict a one-sided picture of the problem. The present paper focuses on Friel’s different view toward Irish colonization and Irish cultural nationalism. The objective of the paper is to show how Friel looks differently at the function of language and the crucial role of “translation” in colonial struggles.

Keywords: Colonization; Language; Translation; Brian Friel; Cultural Identity

What is Performance Studies?

Richard Schechner, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

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Because performance studies is so broad-ranging and open to new possibilities, no one can actually grasp its totality or press all its vastness and variety into a single writing book. My points of departure are my own teaching, research, artistic practice, and life experiences.

Performances are actions. As a discipline, performance studies takes actions very seriously in four ways. First, behavior is the “object of study” of performance studies. Although performance studies scholars use the “archive” extensively – what’s in books, photographs, the archaeological record, historical remains, etc. – their dedicated focus is on the “repertory,” namely, what people do in the activity of their doing it. Second, artistic practice is a big part of the performance studies project. A number of performance studies scholars are also practicing artists working in the avant-garde, in community-based performance, and elsewhere; others have mastered a variety of non-Western and Western traditional forms. The relationship between studying performance and doing performance is integral. Third, fieldwork as “participant observation” is a much-prized method adapted from anthropology and put to new uses. In anthropological fieldwork, participant observation is a way of learning about cultures other than that of the field-worker. In anthropology, for the most part, the “home culture” is Western, the “other” non-Western. But in performance studies, the “other” may be a part of one’s own culture (non-Western or Western), or even an aspect of one’s own behavior. That positions the performance studies fieldworker at a Brechtian distance, allowing for criticism, irony, and personal commentary as well as sympathetic participation. In this active way, one performs fieldwork. Taking a critical distance from the objects of study and self invites revision, the recognition that social circumstances– including knowledge itself – are not fixed, but subject to the “rehearsal process” of testing and revising. Fourth, it follows that performance studies is actively involved in social practices and advocacies. Many who practice performance studies do not aspire to ideological neutrality. In fact, a basic theoretical claim is that no approach or position is “neutral”. There is no such thing as unbiased. The challenge is to become as aware as possible of one’s own stances in relation to the positions of others – and then take steps to maintain or change positions.

Mary Magdalene or Virgin Mary: Nationalism and the Concept of Woman in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Sayyed Rahim Moosavinia, Seyyede Maryam Hosseini & Shahid Chamran

University of Ahvaz, Iran

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Abstract

Foucault believes that people live in systems of power different from one era to another. He applies the term “power archives” to demonstrate that those inside an institute cannot be aware of the subtle ways of power imposed on them. Likewise, it would be oversimplification to think that with the apparent end of colonialism, the colonized subjects will be free from subjugating contexts. In the case of women, the situation is even worse since they are repressed by both the colonialist and the post-colonial nationalist. “Under the anxiety of the influence” of the former colonial father, the once-belittled colonial men turn to support their females in terms of their body and soul, and in this way define them inside a strictly demarcated roles of good wives, mothers, and households or vicious prostitutes. Bessie Head in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece subtly examines this idea and through her coloured protagonist, Elizabeth, attempts to re-deconstruct this notion.

Re-narrating Globalization: Hybridity and Resistance in Amores Perros, Santitos and El Jardín del Edén

Brent Smith, University of New Mexico, USA

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Abstract

This paper explores the articulation of resistance to neoliberal globalization in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, Alejandro Springall’s Santitos and Maria Novaro’s El Jardín del Edén.  I argue that this resistance is enunciated within what Homi Bhabha terms ‘Third Space’, the in-between space of cultural translation and negotiation where notions of an essential national identity are destroyed and a contingent and indeterminate hybrid identity is constructed. Speaking from this hybrid space, these films employ Western cinematic conventions to construct narratives of the disjunctive experience of postcolonial time and space that disrupt the dominant temporality and imaginative geography of Western grand narratives of historical progress and global economic development, while at the same time deterritorializing the space and time of national imagining.

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