Open Panel: Microhistories of Translation in the Socialist Intellectual Space

An international conference hosted by the
Centre for Translation and the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

In collaboration with the
Genealogies of Knowledge Project, University of Manchester, UK

7-9 April 2020



Microhistories of Translation in the Socialist Intellectual Space

Convenor: Igor Tyšš, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia

New research on the history of translation in socialist countries (e. g. Pokorn 2012) reveals an awareness of translation history as characterized by contingency, incremental changes and multiple causation (Pym 1998/2014). In socialist Czechoslovakia for example, the 1950s were a highly turbulent period for translation. During this period, cultural homogeneity was promoted through the abolition of the free press and direct state interventions into both the central and peripheral parts of the literary field (Tyšš 2017). The 1960s witnessed some change but were a rather far cry from the ideal golden era of cultural revival often portrayed in popular history. The relative decoupling of literature/culture and ideology did not affect the entire literary field but mostly its peripheral areas, specifically the literary magazines of the period. The history of translation in other socialist countries during these and the following decades followed different paths, all equally complex and non-linear.

This panel welcomes contributions that engage with the history of translation in socialist countries and its role in negotiating different types of knowledge.

Topics of interest include but are not restricted to the following:

  • Histories of ideas in the era of socialism in Europe and elsewhere
  • The continuing impact of socialism on emerging epistemologies in post-socialist societies
  • Case studies that address the dissemination and renegotiation of political concepts such as ‘progressive’, ‘democracy’ and ‘unity’
  • Studies that explore the renegotiation of philosophical and literary theories such as structuralism and French existentialism
  • Research on the importation of values of dissent expressed by cultural movements such as the Beat Generation



Pokorn, Nike (2012) Post-Socialist Translation Practices: Ideological struggle in children’s literature, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Pym, Anthony (1998/2014) Method in Translation History, London & New York: Routledge.

Tyšš, Igor (2017) Teoretické a materiálové sondy do praxeológie a dejín prekladu americkej literatúry na Slovensku v období socializmu: Mladá tvorba a Beat Generation [A Theoretical and Material Survey of the American Literature Praxeology and Translation History in Socialist Slovakia: The Mladá Tvorba Literary Magazine and the Beat Generation], Nitra: UKF.


Panel Convenor

Igor Tyšš completed his PhD in 2016 at the Department of Translation Studies, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia. His doctoral thesis was titled Ideology and Translation: View of the World in the Period 1948–1989 and focused on translations of American Literature. His research engages with translation history, poetry translation, translation criticism, and the impact of communist ideology on translation. He has also worked in the areas of cognitive and phenomenological linguistics, and was a member of the research consortium of The Evolution of Semantic Systems project, run by the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (2012-2014). He has collaborated on a number of larger Slovak research projects, mainly focusing on translation history.


Submission of Paper Proposals

Submissions should be sent to the panel convenor (Igor Tyšš, by 30 September 2019.

Submissions should consist of:

(1) Abstract (300-400 words, including up to 5 bibliographic references).

(2) Contributor’s 150-word (maximum) biodata written in the third person. See examples from a previous event here:

(3) Full affiliation(s)

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 October 2019.