Call for papers: AfroLab 2023 International Symposium

AfroLab 2023 International Symposium
Translation and Circulation
May 11th-12th

Deadline: 15 February 2023

The research project AfroLab – Building African Literatures. Institutions and consecrations inside and outside the Portuguese-language space 1960-2020 (PTDC/LLT-OUT/6210/2020) invites communication proposals for the AfroLab 2023 International Symposium “Translation and Circulation” (May 11th-12th).

Following our 2022 Symposium (November 10th-11th), centred mostly on the idea of literary institutions when applied to African literature in the Portuguese-speaking world, we now move on to focus specifically on the translation of these literatures outside the Lusosphere. The purpose of this encounter is to study phenomena about the circulation and the translation of these literatures. Translation, as we see it, is a multifold phenomenon, which can be approached from a number of perspectives. Our theoretical background is supported by different inputs, such as the Cultural Turn of Translation Studies (Lefevere, 1992; Venuti, 1995 and 1998; Bassnett and Lefevere, 1990 among others), in a wider landscape of world-literary circulation (Casanova, 1999; Moretti 2000 and 2003; Warwick Research Collective 2015), with a stress on the role played by institutions in the international circulation of literatures (Helgesson and Vermeulen 2016) and on symbolic capital’s accumulation by single literary works, authors or whole national/linguistic literary traditions (Bourdieu, 1992 and 2000; Heilbron, 2010; Sapiro 2014, 2015 and 2016).

Ongoing work in our project, the following conclusion by Ducournau (2017) has already encompassed a study of the role of Portuguese institutions (such as publishers, but also governmental agencies) in the internationalisation of these literatures (partial results can be found in Bucaioni, 2020 and 2022, for example): we encourage the academic community to continue this
productive dialogue on the international fame gained by African literatures in Portuguese, their place in the various target systems, the inequality of treatment among different foreign literary traditions in relevant target languages and the marginality of Portuguese-language literary outputs on the world-stage.

While African literatures in Portuguese have been largely studied as an epistemological and didactic unit in the Portuguese and Brazilian academia, their circulation in translation has been left largely unstudied. Considering, on the one hand, the marginality of African literary production on the world-literary stage, and, on the other, the particular position occupied by the Portuguese
language as a literary production language, we think that the study of the translation and circulation of these literary archives can produce a relevant reflection on a segment of the world-literary system, testing and challenging theoretical assumptions and formulations and contributing to a better understanding both of African literatures and Portuguese-language literatures’ position on
the world-literary stage.

Abstracts can be submitted in English and Portuguese.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • theoretical reflections spurred by the corpus of Portuguese-language African literatures in translation, bearing in mind their positioning in the world-literary system;
  • cultural, epistemological, social and political aspects or implications of translations or the translation process;
  • the study and/or critical analysis of translations;
  • the study of the role of the translation agents involved;
  • reflections on the role of translations in the reception of these literatures;
  • contributions to a history of the translation of Portuguese-language African literatures.

February 15th, 2023: deadline for abstract proposal presentation, via online form at (
February, 28th, 2023: notification of acceptance/refusal by the colloquium organisation team.
May 11th-12th , 2023: symposium dates.
The event will be carried out in person at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Lisbon, even if we are prepared to include one or two panels that take place online, similar to what happened with the AfroLab 2022 Symposium.


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