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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2010

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

Translation, identity, coloniality, borders, language contact, Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Abstract

This thesis explores the role of translation in the production and manipulation of identities in the contemporary Americas as exemplified in the work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Underscoring the instrumentality of borders vis-à-vis dominant constructions of identity and in connection with questions of language, race, and citizenship, I argue that translation not only functions as an agent of hegemonic superiority and oppression, but also as a locus of plurivocity and hybridization. Drawing from the concepts “continuous variation” (Deleuze and Guattari [1987] 2004), “coloniality of power” (Mignolo 2000), and “hybridization” (García-Canclini 1995), I discuss the connection of translation with three main topics: monolingualism, globalization, and racial hybridity. First, I discuss the influence that the dominant ideology of the nation-state has exerted on the way translation has been conceptualized since translation studies emerged as a field. Then I turn to colonial legacies in the Americas and the role of translation in situations of language hegemony as shaped by forces of assimilation and diversification. Finally, I look at translation as a crucial agent for the production and legitimization of Latin American identity throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Viewing translation as a performative and transformative activity, I critique a number of contemporary approaches to translation and I point to new understandings of translation as a cluster concept (Tymoczko 2007) in order to expand translation theory and practice beyond Western paradigms.

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Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Gentzler, Edwin