Category Archives: translation

Domesday’s eastern roots.

It seems like that old “goodness gracious me” sketch about the funny uncle that was claiming everything in Britain was ‘Indian’ was, – yup, Indian – accurate after all:

Reading Wittfogel and on page 214 he finds the Domesday Book, tdocumenting property rights for landlords of yore, has Arab [Saracen – Ghengis – ok, almost Indian] origins…

‘When in 1066 the Normans conquered England, some of their countrymen had already set themselves up as the masters of southern Italy, an area which, with interruptions, had been under Byantine administration until this date: and some of them had established a foothold in Sicily, an area which had been ruled by Byzantium for three hundred years and after that by the Saracens, who combined Arab and Byzantine techniques of absolutist government.

We have no conclusive evidence regarding the effect of this Byzantine-Saracen experience on William and his councilors. But we know that in 1072—that is, thirteen years before William ordered the description of England—the Normans had conquered the capital of Sicily, Palermo, and the northern half of the island. And we also know that there were considerable “comings and goings” 43 between the Italian-Sicilian Normans and their cousins in Normandy and England, particularly among the nobility and clergy. The latter happened also to be actively engaged in administrative work.44 No wonder, then, that on the basis of his knowledge of the period Haskins, the leading English expert on English-Sicilian relations in the Middle Ages, suggests “the possibility of a connexion between Domesday Book. and the fiscal registers which the south had inherited from its Byzantine and Saracen rulers.” [cites himself]

Haskins’ hypothesis explains well why a typically hydraulic device of fiscal administration appeared in feudal Europe. It also explains why for hundreds of years afterward this “magnificent exploit” had no parallel in that area. Evidently, systematic and nationwide registration was as out of place in feudal society as it was customary in the realm of Oriental despotism’ (Wittfogel 1957: 214)

 

from Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power and yes, the Orientalism and the anti-communism are strong in this one, and comparative studies on this scale are wild speculation at the level of conclusion, but int he detail, well, the detail is amazing. It is like a randomised global free association generator.

The model for teaching at TDTU – in collaboration with Đỗ Thị Xuân Hương and Võ Nguyễn Thiện Phúc

A short film made to explain a model of teaching for a class on Capital and Anthropology/Mapping at Ton Duc Thang University, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2018 – Director: Đỗ Thị Xuân Hương Camera and Editor: Võ Nguyễn Thiện Phúc

https://dai.ly/x7obout

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 19.39.27

 

Transcript of the film in English and Tieng Viet Click Appendix_bilingual_Tieng_Anh_va_Tieng_Viet.

 

On the Courtyard, talk at Tate from January

On 26 Jan 2013, a talk at Tate Modern on the Sharjah Art Foundation Biennale proposed theme of New Cultural Cartographies. My views, given late in the day, reliant on Gayatri Spivak’s hugely influential work, and following talks by the excellent Sarat Maharaj, Yuko Hasegawa and Wael Shawky (interviewed). Slightly combative and with a slip in putting the Danes in Chandenaggor, it is the talk I wish I could have parsed for Princeton – but that was not recorded, even though some people asked for it (thanks Anisha, Saleh, Ben). Click here for the audio Tate link.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 23.19.39

translation slippage

“I am first of all against translation as it is mad,

its impossible,

it cannot ever be true to origins,

its a kind of violence,

it is always political,

it transforms,

it is creative,

it is heroic to try,

it is the essence of communicability,

it is exchange,

it disrupts parochialism,

it is the foundation of internationalism,

it is what we all should be trying to do,

it is the most revolutionary activity,

it is social,

it is life itself,

I am for it”.
.

So, translation slippage… my old post above from November 2005 is brought forward again as its both on Victor Alneng’s door in Sweden, and because here at Goldsmiths Ana Ama has activated a research project requesting examples of translational slippage – good term… As I replied to her just now:

“My favourite one is a typo (or was it?) in a bar in the northern Thai town of Chiang Rai – a real cowboy town. At this bar, part restaurant and not obviously a go-go joint, the menu offered a ‘Mixed Girl with Salad’. I do hope it was mixed grill, but …

Lonely Planet’s guide to India used to offer a lot of these sort of things. I remember them mentioning the great Scottish stable breakfast food “Podge” – And in my “Rumour of Calcutta” book (1996) I also mention the miswritten ‘Fried Children’ – instead of chicken.

There are some philosophical issues to be raised about this kind of translation-mockery humour however. So, I hope with the help of Blogospheric collaborationm she can achieve a fine global distribution of cultural put-downs…”

And from the comments page of the original post, Boris Buden translated it:

“3 Comments:

Carrie said…
And to think they call you “The Enemy of Anthropology.” 

24/11/05 10:30
Victor said…
beautiful, John, simply beautiful 

25/11/05 14:12
Boris Buden said…
“Prije svega ja sam protiv prevodjenja jer je to ludost, jer je ono nemoguce, jer nikada ne moze biti vjerno originalu, jer je oblik nasilja, jer je uvijek politicno, jer transformira, jer je kreativno, jer je herojski pokusati ga, jer je prevodjenje bit komunikabilnosti, jer je ono razmjena, jer podriva parohializam, jer je temelj internacionalizma, jer je to ono sto bismo svi trebali ciniti, jer je prevodjenje najrevolucionarnija aktivnost, jer je socijalno, jer je zivot sam, ja sam za prevodjenje.” John Hutnyk in CBS (Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian) 

9/12/06 15:13″

[Thanks – again – Kaori for trinket [image] from Japan].
.

Indian Curry Powder – theory of translation

I am first of all against translation as it is mad, its impossible, it cannot ever be true to origins, its a kind of violence, it is always political, it transforms, it is creative, it is heroic to try, it is the essence of communicability, it is exchange, it disrupts parochialism, it is the foundation of internationalism, it is what we all should be trying to do, it is the most revolutionary activity, it is social, it is life itself, I am for it.

[Thanks Kaori for trinkets from Japan].
.