Feminism in/as Translation in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe
The project explores the emergence of feminism in Central and Eastern Europe (with case studies from Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, and the Czech Republic) during the transitional post-Communist period, when feminist ideas and practices were promoted as part of Western gender equality agendas and EU anti-discrimination policies. This is why some scholars have described this process as an imposition of Western feminism “from outside” and “from above”, or as “room-service feminism”. The project works towards theorizing it as “feminism in/as translation” by analyzing diverse feminist texts, gender theories, policies, methodologies, and practices in translation through the lens of cultural translation. In so doing, the recent feminist project can be seen not simply as an eclectic borrowing of foreign models, but as a palimpsestic culture of translation. Here, the culturally specific legacies from former socialist gender regimes mix with Western liberal ideas, triggering processes of intercultural exchange and collaboration, greater tolerance, and social transformation, as well as cultural negotiation, resistance, and re-writing of feminist knowledge.
Kornelia Slavova is Professor of American Studies in the Department of English and American Studies at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria. She teaches courses in cultural history of the U.S., American literature and drama, popular culture, and translation. She was a visiting scholar at SUNY Albany (USA), University of British Columbia (Canada), Central European University (Hungary), and University of Washington (USA). Her publications are in the fields of American drama, comparative literature, cross-cultural studies, and gender studies. She has translated many books on cultural studies and gender studies, as well as Anglo-American plays. She has been awarded the Christo G. Danov National Prize in the Humanities. Since 2008 she has served as associate editor of The European Journal of Women’s Studies (SAGE).
Selected publications: American Drama on the Bulgarian Stage: Theatre and Translation of Cultures, Sofia 2014; “‘Gender’ on the Move: Shifting Meanings between Western and Non-Western Worlds”, in: Guyonne Leduch (ed.), Comment faire des Études-Genres avec de la littérature: Masquereading, Paris 2014; “Looking at North American Feminism through the Double Lens of Eastern Europe and the Third World”, in: Jasmina Lukić, Joanna Regulska, Darja Zaviršek (eds.), Women and Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe, Hampshire: Ashgate 2006.
If “our whole life is a translation”, as Adrienne Rich suggests in her poem “Our Whole Life”, we cannot help wondering: what then is the original? Is it another text, another experience, or another reality? How is female experience constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed when transmitted from one language/culture to another?