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Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation (Hardback)
  • Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation (Hardback)

Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation (Hardback)

Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 01/04/2016
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In Motherless Tongues, Vicente L. Rafael examines the vexed relationship between language and history gleaned from the workings of translation in the Philippines, the United States, and beyond. Moving across a range of colonial and postcolonial settings, he demonstrates translation's agency in the making and understanding of events. These include nationalist efforts to vernacularize politics, U.S. projects to weaponize languages in wartime, and autobiographical attempts by area studies scholars to translate the otherness of their lives amid the Cold War. In all cases, translation is at war with itself, generating divergent effects. It deploys as well as distorts American English in counterinsurgency and colonial education, for example, just as it re-articulates European notions of sovereignty among Filipino revolutionaries in the nineteenth century and spurs the circulation of text messages in a civilian-driven coup in the twenty-first. Along the way, Rafael delineates the untranslatable that inheres in every act of translation, asking about the politics and ethics of uneven linguistic and semiotic exchanges. Mapping those moments where translation and historical imagination give rise to one another, Motherless Tongues shows how translation, in unleashing the insurgency of language, simultaneously sustains and subverts regimes of knowledge and relations of power.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822360582
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm

"Vincente Rafael's latest work, Motherless Tongues, brings an innovative perspective to the field of translation studies." -- Marianna Deganutti * Target *
"Motherless Tongues is a revelatory and lucid rejection of the delusions of control of language flows implicit in the work of many a translation studies scholar. Amidst the continued hegemony of research moulded by the reassuring stability of different types of social and ideological structures, Rafael's superbly written book illuminates the counterpoint: translation as site for the everyday expression of dissent, subversion and insurgency." -- Luis Perez-Gonzalez * The Translator *

"Motherless Tongues not only demonstrates what a rich ecosystem the Philippines is for thinking through translation, but also offers a new and productive way to think about the relationship between translation and language."

-- Jessica Gross * The Journal of Asian Studies *
"Among the most notable aspects of the author's approach in Motherless Tongues is that it is scholarly, theoretically vivid, and, at the same time, deeply personal. . . . The world of Motherless Tongues is encouraging to a degree that is, perhaps, even beyond the author's intentions stated at the outset." -- William B. Noseworthy * Pacific Affairs *

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