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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Translating the Ancient Classics in China and the West: 1950 and Beyond

16th Annual Comparative Literature Conference at USC

February 26-March 2, 2014

 What is translation? Is it a signifying process?  A transfer of knowledge?  Or the dissemination of tradition itself?

What are the grounds of comparison between noncognate traditions?

How are classics received within their own traditions and within other traditions?

How does translation relate to local commentarial traditions?

How do the translation of the classics relate to project of cosmopolitanism?

How do new media affect the transmission of the classics?

Are Plato and Aristotle to the postwar West as Confucius and Lao Tzu are to postrevolutionary China?


Classical texts routinely engage the poetic, the political, the social, historical, the religious, and the philosophical without drawing clear boundaries between them.  Seeking papers from these and other disciplines, this conference asks how the reception of the classics in both China and the West informs and serves to transform the modern world.  When and why do cultures access traditions beyond their bounds and how does that cross fertilization work?  We seek papers and participants engaging in dialogues ranging across disciplines and cultures.

Send one page abstracts of 20 minute papers to by September 15, 2013.  We also encourage panel submissions of up to four papers.  Panel submissions should include abstracts of the individual papers and should not be more than four pages.

The language of the conference is English.

Keynote Speakers to include:

Shadi Bartsch (Chicago University)

Stephen Durant (University of Oregon)

Miriam Leonard (UCL)

ZHANG Longxi (Hong Kong City University)

Conference web page:

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.