JoSTrans 43 (January 2025): Special Issue on Translation, Representation and Performance

Guest Editors: Lisha Xu (Beijing Jiaotong University) and David Johnston (Queen’s University Belfast)

This special edition of JoSTrans looks at the issues involved in translating plays for performance on a contemporary stage where practitioners and audiences alike are increasingly sensitised to the representation of race, identity, gender, and sexuality.

The Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements have, in particular, coalesced around wider social justice movements that have further galvanised, and in many ways drawn together, different sets of identitarian politics. At the heart of these politics, identity works in terms of promoting the recognition of difference, both of opportunity and of participatory parity, operating as a category of perception that acts as a heuristic springboard towards what Linda Hamilton Krieger described over twenty-five years ago as “strategies for simplifying the perceptual environment and acting on less-than-perfect information” (1995, 1161). For some, this leads inevitably to the honing of critical theories of race and gender, and their extension into the worldview of rapidly growing numbers of people. For others, we are witnessing a maximalist politics which, in its tracing of its own history through different sources of resistance across time and space, is increasingly impatient with any expression of what are perceived as oppressive positions, irrespective of the timeframe in which such positions were taken. It is evident that we are living through a time of paradigm shift in terms of our relationships both with each other as identity types and with the assumptions and dynamics of our past. Whether we think of these shifts as undergirded by processes of recouping or erasure, they enshrine attitudes and responses that have radically changed the terrain of the arts in general, and of the representational arts in particular. Moreover, their impact on new generations of trainee performers means that such changes in the specialised field of theatre and performance are undoubtedly long-term.

This special issue asks what this might mean for contemporary translation for performance. Translation for the stage is obviously a key concern here, but other modes and aspects of preparing for and experiencing performance might also be considered – surtitling, streaming, moving image, stand-up comedy, etc .

We invite abstracts addressing either one or more of the following questions, or picking up on any related concern:

• What are the implications for translators working with texts from different places and, particularly, different times, where radically different conceptions of gender and other perceived markers of identity are in operation?

• What is the relationship between translation for performance and re-historicising practice?

• To what extent might translated plays or other dramatic forms be able – or still be able – to offer a counter-current where mutually incompatible or contestatory positions can be put forward simultaneously?

• What are the implications for the space in which translation takes place if we regard the assumptions of the receiving context as hardened into critical positions? Is what we might think of as the more traditionally civic nature of the performance event changing to accommodate a more critical environment, and if so what might this mean in terms of the texts/performances we choose to translate?

• To what extent does the elimination of cultural appropriation fall to the translator? Can such charges be obviated through solely production-based decisions, such as blind casting etc?

• Can translations be used to challenge or confirm conceptions of what might be thought of as the ‘politically correct’?

• Does the awareness of such political correctness on the part of the translator for performance imply a necessary process of accommodation or can it drift into selfcensorship? Is there a readily discernible divide here?

Indicative Publication Timeline:

1 June 2023: Deadline for submission of proposals (500-word abstract not including references + biographical notice of 50-70 words for each author) to guest editors

30 June 2023: Response from guest editors

20 December 2023: Deadline for submission of first versions of full articles (between 7,000 and 8,000 words, including endnotes and references) to guest editors

2 January 2024 to 15 May 2024: Peer review and revision period

1 June 2024: Deadline for submission to guest editors of final versions of full articles

June 2024: Copy-editing of final versions of full articles by guest editors

1 July 2024: Deadline for submission to JoSTrans of full articles copy-edited by guest editors

January 2025: Publication

Submissions: Abstracts should be sent to and with the subject line JoSTrans Issue 43 + Author(s) surname(s) (e.g. JoSTrans Issue 43 Xu et al.)



Krieger, Linda Hamilton. 1995. “The Content of Our Categories: A Cognitive Bias Approach to Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity.” Stanford Law Review 47(6): 11611248.


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