New Book – Translations in Times of Disruption


It is with great pleasure that we announce that copies of the book resulting from the work of our international network are available for ADVANCE COPIES and due to be on sale on 24th September.  We have already received some excellent reviews which we are happy to reproduce below.

About the book

David Hook and Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (eds.) Translations in Times of Disruption: an Interdisciplinary Study in Transnational Contexts (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) throws light on the relevance and role played by translations and translators at times of serious discontinuity throughout history. Topics explored by scholars from different continents and disciplines include war, the disintegration of transnational polities, health disasters and revolutions – be they political, social, cultural and/or technological. Surprisingly little is known, for example, about the role that translated constitutions had in instigating and in shaping political crises at both local and global level, and how these events had an effect on translations themselves; that translations of medical texts could serve as instruments for either building or undermining empires; and even the extent to which interpreters could ease or hamper negotiations and serve to foster new national identities. This book addresses all these issues, among others, through twelve studies focused not just on texts, but also on instances of verbal and non-verbal communications in a range of languages from around the world. This interdisciplinary work will engage scholars working in fields such as Translation Studies, History, Modern Languages, English, Law, Politics and Social Studies.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Illustrations

Notes on Contributors


1. Introduction: Translations in Times of Disruption
David Hook and Graciela Iglesias-Rogers
2. Can constitutions be translated?: The case of the Cadiz Constitution in German
Horst Dippel
3. From Philos Hispaniae to Karl Marx: The first English translation of a Liberal Codex
Graciela Iglesias-Rogers
4. Distant disruption: Some Italian editions of the Costituzione Politica della Monarchia Spagnuola and their significance
David Hook
5. Translating into stone: The monument to the Constitution of Cadiz in Saint Augustine, Florida
M. C. Mirow
6. Translating the US Constitution for the federal cause in New Granada at the time of independence
Eduardo Posada-Carbó
7. Translations of medical texts of the Habsburg Monarchy in the long eighteenth century
Teodora Daniela Sechel
8. Translation, interpretation and the Danish Conquest of England, 1016
Emily A. Winkler
9. ‘A True Translation’: Translation as a weapon in the Peninsular War (1808-1814)
Alicia Laspra-Rodríguez
10. Anglo-Spanish transfers in Peninsular War poetry (1808-1814): Translating and zero-translating
Agustín Coletes-Blanco
11. Globalization and the translation of minority languages in film subtitling
Gemma Martínez-Garrido
12. Resistance to the original: Polish translation at the turn of 1989
Kasia Szymanska

Advance copies can be booked and/or purchase in advance through this address:   Please notice that the content of Palgrave’s promotional webpage is still under construction.


‘This collection offers a magnificent overview of translation as a mechanism of interpretation and mediation between the transnational world of ideas and practices, and conflictive local circumstances. Essential reading not only to specialists in translation theory but also to historians working in the booming fields of global and transnational history.’

Dr Eduardo Zimmermann, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

‘This collection of essays, produced by a number of well-established scholars as well as promising younger researchers from different countries and disciplines (history, law, medicine, etc.), explores the crucial role played by translators of diverse non-literary texts as agents of history. The result is a wide-ranging, compelling and engaging volume.’

Dr. Francisco J. Romero Salvadó, University of Bristol, UK

‘A magnificent collection of essays that prove the worth of translation as a tool for interdisciplinary research. Readers will find in this truly engaging volume a trove of well-researched material, which demonstrates how a translated text can influence, condition or even determine how we look at history and society.’

Dr Javier Muñoz-Basols, University of Oxford, UK


2016 – The year for translations in the public sphere

After months of quiet research and rigorous internal peer reviewing, the time has arrived to share the results of our network’s collaboration with a wider academic public.  We have a deadline to meet later in the year with our publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, to get Translations in times of Disruption, a multidisciplinary study of constitutions, medical knowledge, conflict and negotiation in transnational contexts ready to be displayed in bookshops and libraries.

In the meantime, we offer here a couple of reading suggestions made by two of our most prestigious members, Prof. Eduardo Posada Carbó and Prof. David Hook, respectively, and a call for papers from a sister organization (see below). 

Thank you from reading this post!

Dr Graciela Iglesias Rogers

Network co-coordinator


This is a thought-provoking article by the author of A Savage Mirror: Power, Identity, and Knowledge in Early Modern France (Stanford University Press, 2006) that starts by questioning what a translation is from a historical perspective after offering as an appetizer the inspiring image (here below) of a bishop transporting a monstrance with the Eucharist in a Corpus Christi procession. At the bottom of the page, two Jewish men attack a host with knives. The “wounded” host bleeds, thus authenticating the reality of Christ’s presence. Lovell Lectionary (British Library, London), London, Harley 7026 (ca. 1408), fol. 13r.

ImagexTranslationThe American Historical Review-2015-Wintroub-1185-217_Page_01


  • Fernando Garcia Sanz, Vittorio Scotti Douglas, Romano Ugolini, and José Ramón Urquijo Goitia (eds.), Cadice e oltre: costituzione, nazione e libertà. La carta gaditana nel bicentenario della sua promulgazione (Roma: Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento Italiano, 2015) [Biblioteca Scientifica, Prospettive/Perspetives, IV], pp. xxiii + 748. For copies, contact the Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento Italiano:
  • Call for Papers: Translation and Transformation in the Age of Revolution (1750-1850). Third Conference of the U4 Network Reverberations of Revolution: Political Upheaval Seen from Afar in cooperation with the Early Career Research Group Multiple Modernities, University of Göttingen, June 23-25, 2016.

They invite contributions focusing on how translation proved a catalyst for the spread of revolutionary ideas and narratives but also how it modified, transformed and distorted those very ideas and narratives. Submissions may seek to investigate the following research areas:

  • The migration of revolutionary ideas and narratives across national borders
  • The role of censorship in containing and spreading revolutionary ideas
  • Transnational translator networks
  • The activities of international correspondents
  • Revolutionary translator networks of women
  • The emergence of a transatlantic / global revolutionary narrative through translation

Please submit your proposal (300-word abstract) for a 20-minute paper no later than February 15, 2016. Proposals should include your name, academic affiliation and brief biography and be sent to the conference organizers: and

You will find more information about the U4 network and the research group here:

2015 – A year for translating research

Translation is far from becoming a crowded field of enquiry, but it is certainly an area that is attracting increasing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary attention. Here is an example, useful perhaps for drawing some intellectual stimulation and encouragement while working on drafts and revisions of our own research. It is the most recent special issue of the journal History of European Ideas which is wholly dedicated to the topic of Translation, reception and Enlightened Reform based on single case – that of the French thinker François Véron Duverger de Forbonnais in eighteenth-century political economy. Below is a link to the journal’s webpage and a copy of the Table of Contents. Enjoy!



VOL 40; ISSUE 8 (2014)
ISSN 0191-6599
• pp.1011-1025
Translation, Reception and Enlightened Reform: The Case of Forbonnais in Eighteenth-Century Political Economy
Alimento, A.
• pp.1026-1043
Between Utrecht and the War of the Austrian Succession: The Dutch Translation of the British Merchant of 1728
Stapelbroek, K.
• pp.1044-1066
Beyond the Treaty of Utrecht: Veron de Forbonnais’s French Translation of the British Merchant (1753)
Alimento, A.
• pp.1067-1086
Veron de Forbonnais and Plumard de Dangeul as Translators of Uztariz and Ulloa
Guasti, N.
• pp.1087-1107
Forbonnais and the Discovery of the `Science of Commerce’ in Spain (1755-1765)
Astigarraga, J.
• pp.1108-1129
The Spanish Translation of the Elemens du Commerce by Francois Veron Duverger de Forbonnais: A Linguistic Analysis
Carpi, E.
• pp.1130-1150
The `New Science of Commerce’ in the Holy Roman Empire: Veron de Forbonnais’s Elemens du commerce and its German Readers
Cavarzere, M.
• pp.1151-1188
Translation as Import Substitution: The Portuguese Version of Veron de Forbonnais’s Elemens du commerce
Lupetti, M.; Guidi, M.E.L.
• pp.1189-1201
Landmarks of Economic Terminology: The First Portuguese Translation of Elemens du commerce
Silvestre, J.P.; Villalva, A.; Cardeira, E.
• pp.1202-1216
For the Sake of the Republic: The Dutch Translation of Forbonnais’s Elemens du commerce
Nijenhuis, I.


Summer Reading

Two members of our network, Dr Teodora Daniela Sechel (Karl Franzens Universität and Central European University) and Dr Graciela Iglesias Rogers (University of Oxford) offer us here a few reading suggestions for the summer, including an article from one of our most eminent followers, Prof. Linda Colley (Princeton University):


KONTLER, LÁSZLÓ, Translations, Histories, Enlightenments: William Robertson in Germany, 1760-1795 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
This book illustrates the difficulties German translators encountered while rendering the work of William Robertson – historian, minister, Principal of the University of Edinburgh and central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment – into their own language. The author shows how either for the sake of ascribing to language norms or for political reasons many of Robertson’s concepts and ideas were changed. Thus, the book serves to highlight the limits of translatability as well as the advantages of the cultural exchange produced by means of translations between different intellectual communities of the late eighteenth century Scotland and the German-speaking world.

BEHIELS, LIEVE; THOMAS, WERNER; PISTOR, CHRISTIAN, Translation as an Instrument of Empire: The Southern Netherlands as a Translation Center of the Spanish Monarchy, 1500–1700, Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 47/3 (2014/07/22 2014), 113-27.
In this article, the authors consider translation and translators as agents in globalization processes and focus on their role in the “first globalization” within the Spanish empire from 1500 onward. Combining concepts and methods from history and translation studies, they take the Southern Netherlands as a geographical center where translators, initiators of translations, printers, and other multilingual specialists were able to provide texts that circulated in the whole of the Spanish Monarchy. The authors show how a relational database comprising multiple data on translations and the people related to them helps to uncover networks among the participants in the translation process and to discover if and how authorities were involved. Finally, the database sheds light on the translation centers themselves and on the Spanish Monarchy’s language system.

COLLEY, LINDA, Empires of Writing: Britain, America and Constitutions, 1776-1848, Law and History Review, 32/02 (2014), 237-66.
In this article, Prof. Colley – who is currently working on the transnational history of constitutions – explores the variety of British responses to the constitutional innovations associated with the American Revolution, and the implications of this for both sides of the Atlantic. She also draws on these British responses to advance wider arguments about the cultural roots of the new constitutionalism, and the persistent connections between the writing and dissemination of constitutions and evolving modes of overland and overseas power and authority.

Enjoy the reading under warm and bright sunshine!

The Network’s coordinators


Synopsis of discussions

Roots of Rootlessness?:

Translations in Times of Disruption

2nd Conference of the University of Oxford’s
Interdisciplinary Research Network


The Dorfman Centre, St. Peter’s College, Oxford,  10 May 2014


Panel 1: Translating Constitutions in the Age of Revolutions

Proponent/Chair: Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers

Speakers: Prof. Horst Dippel, Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers, Prof. David Hook, Dr. M.C. Mirow, Dr. Eduardo Posada-Carbó.

Numerous comments were made regarding the role translated versions of the Cadiz Constitution and of other constitutional texts, such as the US Constitution, had in shaping and/or instigating political crises at both local and transnational level. In Germany, Professor Dippel noted, the Cadiz Constitution attracted much interest during the turbulent 1820s and was still doing so at the time of the Revolution of 1848. There were notable distinctions between different versions and these tended to reflect contrasting political views: for example, terms such as nación in connection with phrases relating to the concept of national sovereignty could appear as volk in liberal and/or progressive translations and as nation in more conservative texts. The motivation of translators was explored; few of these men (female translators were rare) gave explanatory statements, and even fewer a clear statement, of their reasons and aims. The perspective of a translator approaching a text from “outside” the culture that produced it was the product of a significant gulf. It was queried whether any translations undermine the sense of the original, but the consensus was that all seem to be trying to reflect faithfully the source text, despite misconceptions and mistranslations. Publishers’ motivations, including cases of abridgments of texts for commercial rather than political/philosophical reasons, were also considered.

Panel 2: Translating Medical texts during epidemics and imperial crises

Proponent/Chair: Dr. Erica Charters

Speakers: Ms. Edna Bonhomme, Dr. Teodora Daniela Sechel.

It was pointed out that the official language of the Habsburg army was German, and that therefore material had to be extensively translated into the various minority languages spoken by the ordinary soldiery. Poverty of vocabulary and high costs of printing were important factors. The role of the central authorities in organising translation was discussed, as was the social, cultural and religious background of the personnel involved.
Discussion also raised the question of when printing was introduced in Tunis (the 19th century), and on the history of successive theories of contagion and the development of ideas on length and nature of quarantine, and different means of disinfection. The question of contacts with European medical thought, and the routes of its transmission, were mentioned.

Panel 3: Translating for war and for peace in the 19th century

Chair: Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers
Speakers: Dr. Jo Crow; Dr. Alicia Laspra-Rodríguez.

Much interest was provoked by questions surrounding the identity and status of those who fulfilled the role of translators between Spanish-speaking and Mapuche delegations during negotiations, and issues of protocol and social symbolism at these parlamentos. Interpreters did not translate just words, but also customs. During the Spanish period, interpreters came from within the community (not Spaniards) and exercised power within their own group. Post-independence, the Chilean authorities established the role of a ‘language inspector’ and there was no longer oral but written mediation in Spanish. In the case of the Peninsular War, the range of languages was extremely wide because of the large contingents and number of individuals from various European countries who participated in the conflict; again the identity, degree of professionalization, and social status of translators were points of interest. The question of female participation in this activity was also raised.

Panel 4: Literary translation confronted to the challenges of war, radicalism and globalization

Chair: Dr. Jonathan Thacker
Speakers: Dr. Agustín Coletes-Blanco; Ms. Tamara de Inés Antón; Dr Gemma Martínez-Garrido.

When asked about other periods than that covered in her paper, Dr Martinez-Garrido clarified that her research had not involved earlier periods and areas of film production: its focus was contemporary Catalonia. She thought that Catalan film had not been particularly interested in winning Oscars but had other priorities. Analysis could easily be extended to political and ideological aspects. She perceived different approaches in film translation: domestication of texts in the minority language, or stressing the foreign nature of a film from a foreign language. Her focus was on the international dimension of the question. Ms. de Inés Antón, answering a series of questions on translation of the Nicaraguan textual material, thought it relevant to enquire whether the impetus for translation came from an individual translator, the author, or a publishing house. The English translators were mostly US or English nationals; the quality and nature of the translation tended to vary according to the translator; there was a difference between academics and poets acting as translators, for example. It also varied according to context (time available for translation, political or poetic orientation in the publishing process, involving translator, publisher, and intended readership…). Replying to a question about the use of L3 texts such as Greek and Latin poems on the Peninsular War in English journals, Dr Coletes-Blanco thought that though such poems were a conventional exercise in the English education system of the time, they found a completely new content in this context.

Panel 5: Dynastic wars, post-revolutions, and resistance

Chair: Prof. David Hook
Speakers: Dr Emily A. Winkler; Dr. Jennifer Rushworth; Ms. Katarzyna Szymanska.

Dr Winkler’s account of exaltation of Norse-Irish dynastic origins in chronicle accounts of a Welsh ruling family as a counter to Norman pretensions led to consideration of narrative motifs, legitimation devices, and other aspects commonly encountered in medieval chronicles. Dr Rushworth responded to a question on whether any of Petrarch’s works had been listed in the Roman Catholic Church’s Index of prohibited and expurgated books by distinguishing the likely status and effect of content from different works within his poetic production in the context of their relevance to Avignon and the Papacy. She outlined 19th century French treatment of the topic. Ms Szymanska’s treatment of multiple versions of a text by the same translator, involving different modes of linguistic manipulation of an artificial futuristic language, raised various issues of political significance, it was thought, as well as of translation practice.


Conference 2014 – Thank you!

We would like to thank all participants to our second conference ‘Roots of Rootlessness?: Translations in Times of Disruption’ (St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, 10 May 2014) for making the meeting such a successful and memorable event both in terms of the high level of academic discussion and of friendly personal interaction.
The depth and breadth of your comments was staggering and demonstrated that the network is not only gaining in membership numbers, but also in intellectual vibrancy and diversity.



(Photo shows some of the participants at the entrance of St. Peter’s College. From right to left: Prof Horst Dippel, Dr. Alicia Laspra Rodriguez, Dr. Glynn Redworth, Dr. Eduardo Posada-Carbó, Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers, Dr. Agustín Coletes-Blanco, Dr. Daniela Sechel, Dr. Jo Crow, Dr. Matthew Mirow, Ms. Edna Bonhomme, Dr Emily Winkler, Dr. Jonathan Thacker)

We shall be soon in touch directly with speakers with a draft of a short panels’ report and a memo in relation to our discussions regarding publication outlet and style sheet.

Organisers & Network Co-ordinators:
Prof. David Hook, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages
Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers, Faculty of History and St. Peter’s College
Dr. Jonathan Thacker, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Merton College.

Translations in Transnational Contexts
An interdisciplinary research network at the University of Oxford
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Conference – Registration is now open

Roots of restlessness?

Translations in times of Disruption

Date: Saturday 10 May 2014

Venue: The Dorfman Centre, St. Peter’s College, Oxford

With the support of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), The Modern European History Research Centre (MEHRC), and The Society for the Social History of Medicine.

We are delighted to announce that registration is now opened for our second annual conference entitled ‘Roots of Restlessness? Translations in Times of Disruption’. The full programme and abstracts are now also available.

The purpose of the meeting is to consider the relevance, role and impact of translations during periods of serious discontinuity and/or rupture such as wars, invasions, imperial crises, mass migration, natural disasters (including epidemics), and revolutions – be they political, social, cultural or technological. The works studied are literary and non-literary texts, images as well as records of verbal and non-verbal communications. There will be panels on: ‘Translating constitutions in the Age of Revolutions’, ‘Translating medical texts during epidemics and imperial crises’, ‘Interpreting for war and peace in the 19th century’, ‘Literary translation, radicalism and globalization’ and ‘Dynastic wars, post-revolutions, and resistance’.

We have a strong line-up of speakers, including Prof. Horst Dippel (University of Kassel, editor in chief of ‘Constitutions of the World from the late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century’ ), Dr. Igor Mednikov (director of the Iberian Studies Centre at the Russian State University for the Humanities), Prof. Matthew C. Mirow (Florida International University), Prof. David Hook (Oxford), Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers (Oxford), Dr. Eduardo Posada-Carbó (Oxford), Dr. Erica Charters (Oxford), Edna Bonhomme (Princeton), Teodora Daniela Sechel (Karl Franzens Universität / Central European University), Dr. Jo Crow (Bristol), Dr. Alica Laspra-Rodríguez (Oviedo), Dr. Firat Oruc (Georgetown/Qatar), Tamara de Inés Antón (Manchester), Dr. Jennifer Rushworth (Oxford), Dr Emily A. Winkler (Oxford), Dr. Gemma Martínez-Garrido (Kent), Katarzyna Szymanska (Oxford) and Dr. Agustín Coletes-Blanco (Oviedo).

Please notice that the event will take place at the Dorfman Centre, St. Peter’s College, a warm and cosy garden pavilion that is approached via a pergola walk and a small cloister court. Internally the seminar room is lined completely in oak and cedar and is fitted with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment.

All are welcome. There is no conference fee, but registration is required. More details in the Registration page.

We very much look forward to seeing you in May!

For more information contact any of the coordinators: Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers ( and/or Professor David Hook ( and/or Dr. Jonathan Thacker ( ).

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