Open Panel: Translation and Invisible Violence in the Human Sciences

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



Translation and Invisible Violence in the Human Sciences

Convenors: René Lemieux, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada and Joshua Price, Binghamton University, US

Translation in the human sciences is often associated with extending, even emancipating knowledge. In the liberal humanist tradition at its best, knowledge production disavows chauvinism. Yet scholarly translations are sometimes enlisted in projects of knowledge production that lead to the expansion of cultural hegemony, are at the service of nationalism, or contribute to furthering linguistic domination. Thus, the transnational dimension of scholarly translation is not always necessarily driven by a spirit of peaceful internationalism. Indeed, it is sometimes a site of conflict and invisible violence. Epistemicide, or the destruction of knowledge, as the word suggests, can also be a product of the involvement of translation in such knowledge production projects (Sousa Santos 2014).

Themes to be explored in this panel, which focuses on the domains of philosophy and the human sciences, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Methodologies that facilitate the study of global exchanges of knowledge when power is at stake
  • The limits and possibilities of ‘epistemicide’ as an analytic device to describe and interpret knowledge exchange processes and translation projects
  • The role that ‘linguistic equivalence’ through translation plays in the perpetuation of epistemic violence
  • Common patterns, techniques or strategies used in projects of cultural domination that are enacted through translation
  • The impact of nationalisms realized through translation projects on subaltern cultures or traditions.



de Sousa Santos, Boaventura (2014) Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.


Panel convenors

Panel presentations