Professorial Inaugural Lectures 2017-2018

All inaugural lectures are held at 5.30pm in the Portrait Room, Grove House.

Invitations and full details will be sent out approximately one month before each event.

Upcoming lecture

Professor Lucile Desblache

Professor Lucile Desblache

Professor of Translation & Transcultural Studies
Department of Media, Culture and Language

Translating beyond the verbal: new bridges of communication


Monday 9 October 2017 / 5pm for 5.30pm
Portrait Room, Grove House

In the last few decades, the digital age has forged new perspectives on knowledge. Knowledge is no longer primarily a quantitative sum of data to be acquired and transmitted universally. It needs to be discovered, understood and explored across technologies, shifting disciplinary boundaries, and cultures. It also needs to be transferred from and into different forms of languages, from verbal to visual, from conceptual to emotional. Forging passages between domains and establishing communication not only between humans but all living beings, is key to a meaningful purpose of knowledge. These epistemological ideas have been explored by philosophers of science such as Bruno Latour. Translation Studies scholars, on the whole, have struggled to reconcile abstract, metaphorical concepts of translation with the notion of translation as understood in the commercial world of communication, that of a product to be obtained through quick, efficient and cost-cutting processes of transfer across verbal languages. Yet both ideas of translation imply exchanges of perspective between domains, cultures and senses and are inspiring conceptually, artistically and socially. Even, and perhaps above all, the sleekest and most proficient commercial models require the constant transformation and reinvention of both objects and subjectivities in production and consumption. Bonds between metaphorical and practical ideas of translation are essential today. Translation is crucial as both instrument of equivalence between things and ideas, and as agent revealing differences between them. In this lecture, I will consider two areas of my research which straddle both ideas of translation: the translation of texts involving music, and those focused on the non-human natural world. Through examples taken from these, I will highlight the essential role of translation as instrument of empowerment for 21st century humans and as agent of social and intellectual cohesion in a fragmented world which has to be interpreted in multiple ways to be meaningful. As Michel Serres (2008) pointed out, the ‘soft bridges’ of translation are the best keys to understanding and sharing knowledge and ways of life in the 21st century.

Forthcoming lectures

20 November 2017
Professor Paul Allen

15 January 2018
Professor Caroline Bainbridge
Media, Culture and Language

26 February 2018
Professor Debbie Epstein

19 March 2018
Professor Anita Biressi
Media, Culture and Language

14 May 2018
Professor Michael Witt
Media, Culture and Language

18 June 2018
Professor Stephen Drinkwater
Business School