Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Translation and the Musicologist: A Case Study in Four Parts

The place of linguistic translation in the musicological enterprise is a topic that attracted a great deal of attention among members of the American Musicological Society this past fall, in response to queries regarding the role of translation examinations in the graduate curriculum.  This week, Musicology Now takes on the issue of translation, not in regard to curricular imperatives but rather exploring the issue of translation itself.  The platform for this discussion is the recent publication of Fernando Ortiz on Music: Selected Writing on Afro-Cuban Culture, a collection of English-language translations of selected writings by the noted twentieth-century Cuban ethnologist.  In a series of four essays, by editor Robin D. Moore, David García, Susan Thomas, and David Font-Navarrete, the authors explore the politics and the ethics of translation, its impact on musical and cultural understanding, and the opportunities, challenges, and risks associated with curating and translating the work of a dominant figure in Latin American scholarship whose work also reveals deeply problematic ties to racist ideology.

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