RURAL HISTORY 2013, BERN

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Keynote Session I: Lost in Translations?

In rural history, as in many other sciences, English becomes more and more the dominant language. The European Rural History Organisation (EURHO), for example, declares in its constitution unreservedly: "The working language of the Organization and of its website and other publications shall be English". No doubt, the process towards English as the lingua franca facilitates the communication and comprehension among rural historians from a variety of territorial backgrounds and linguistic and cultural orientations. It helps to overcome national science cultures and linguistic barriers which have in the past restrained, if not altogether prevented, the exchange of ideas and debates.
 

This process of standardisation, however, also creates new problems. It weakens the perception of linguistic differences and meanings – aspects of particular relevance to cultural historians. On a more general level, the application of English as the sole language creates the danger that a discursive variety (today a hallmark of the cultural and social sciences) is diminishing if not disappearing altogether. In other words: A homogenisation of the scientific discourses which have been created within the discipline of rural history in the last two decades could, therefore, destroy the potential of the new rural history once again.
 

Chair:

Peter Moser, Archives of Rural History

Plenary Lecture:

Michael Cronin, Dublin City University: Expanding Worlds? Translation and the Challenge of Microspection

Comments:

Claire Strom; Martin Schaffner

Roundtable:

Zsuzsanna Varga; Leen van Molle; Martin Schaffner; Claire Strom

Participants:

Michael Cronin, Prof. Dublin City University

Martin Schaffner, Prof. em. University of Basel

Claire Strom, Prof. Rollins College, Florida

Leen van Molle, Prof. University of Leuven

Zsuzsanna Varga, Prof. Lorand Eötvös University, Budapest