Scriptworlds: Workshop 1

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17 - 18 February 2018
Sankey Room, University of California, Santa Barbara


University of California Santa Barabara

The objective of Scriptworlds is to build a new framework for thinking about language, literature and translation in the context of the notable advances that have been made in recent years in digital technology and neuroscience. This initial international workshop brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines from University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Oxford, University of New South Wales and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.  

The workshop invites discussions on scripts and their implications for literary studies, in particular, instances of non-‘phonocentric’ relation between writing and speech that literatures around the world may have in common. Topics might include: implications of script for translation and multilingualism. For example, one might compare literature written in ‘ideographic’ scripts (e.g. Chinese) with those written in phonetic scripts (e.g. the Roman alphabet) and test the idea, forwarded by thinkers as diverse as Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, A C Graham, Chad Hansen, Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, that the ideographic Chinese produces ‘nominalist’ thought on account of its ‘graphic wealth’ and ‘phonetic poverty’, while the phonetic Roman alphabet lends itself to the kind of abstract thinking that produced western ‘realist’ philosophy.  Or one might trace the processes by which readers translate between visual perception and auditory perception by establishing in concrete terms important distinctions between spoken language and written language. Explorations of visual communication in alphabetic writing would also be welcome.