INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. EMILY APTER

Emily Emily Apter, Marlova Aseff, Andrei dos Santos Cunha, Gerson Roberto Neumann

Resumo


My work for some years has centered on the politics of translation, on
“theorizing in untranslatables” (or what it means to “philosophize
in translation” as the French philosopher and translator Barbara
Cassin put it). Cassin and I collaborated on the English edition (APTER;
CASSIN, 2014) of the Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, a
kind of new history of philosophy told from translation’s point of view. There
is no consensus on what an Untranslatable might be: (a mistranslation? A
non-translation? A constant re-translation? A word that runs interference?
A border zone/warzone in the world of language wars?), but such questions
lent impetus to several books: The Translation Zone: A New Comparative
Literature (APTER, 2005), Against World Literature: On the Politics of
Untranslatability (APTER, 2013), Unexceptional Politics: On Obstruction,
Impasse and the Impolitic (APTER, 2018) and most recently What is Just
Translation?, a project on language inequality, social harming, reparative
translation, and the limits of translation as medium and praxis. For over
twenty years I have edited the Translation/Transnation series at Princeton
University Press, and worked in an editorial capacity with the journals
October, Political Concepts, Diacritics, Public Culture, Comparative Literature and PMLA. In addition to translation studies, my teaching at NYU covers comparative method (the history and theory of comparative literature as a discipline), continental philosophy, aesthetics across media, psychoanalysis, sexual politics, and literature (19th century to contemporary fiction and poetics).
I served two terms (2015-2022) as Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at NYU and will soon begin a term as Chair of the Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture. In the past two years I worked closely with faculty in the School of Liberal Studies as well as colleagues in national language departments to develop a Translation Studies Undergraduate Minor and was involved in developing the CALAMEGS Certificate (Comparative Approaches to Literatures of Africa, the Middle East and the Global South) in the Ph.D. program at NYU. In 2017-18 I served as President of the American Comparative Literature Association. In 2019, I was the Daimler Fellow at the American
Academy in Berlin, in 2014 a Fellow at the Council of the Humanities Fellow at Princeton, and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2004.

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Revista Brasileira de Literatura Comparada, ISSN 0103-6963, ISSN 2596-304X (on line)

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