Philosophy and Cultural Translation

Subject PHIL70002 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 Hours
Total Time Commitment:

120 Hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Faculty of the VCA and Music Student Centre
Ground Floor, Elisabeth Murdoch Building (Bldg 860)
Southbank Campus
234 St Kilda Road, Southbank, 3006

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Since the 1960s, translation has not only taken on the status of a cultural reality whose mechanisms are of interest to whosoever is engaged in, or concerned by, any form of cultural practice whatsoever, but it has also increasingly been thought of as a process that operates within, and opens up, an experience of multiplicity, difference and otherness (with these three qualifications yielding, not incidentally, the coordinates of much contemporary critical thought). As such, far from being solely a technical activity restrained to the strictly linguistic field, the field encompassed by translation now extends from the relationship between texts to the relationship between systems of signs (amongst others, cultural and aesthetic ones) and, beyond this again, to practices of hybridisation (between, e.g., nature and culture), yielding new genres of being and new regimes of signs.

By exploring the intersecting themes of interpretation, translation and transformation in relation to exchanges between natural languages (i.e. French to English, English to Chinese, etc.), between art forms (e.g., music into painting) and between art and the language of specific discourses (e.g., philosophy or psychoanalysis into photography or film), this course will open up possibilities of enacting translations between written texts and art, as well as between art forms.

Students will be taken through the methodologies employed in translation, with these methodologies then developed as imaginative models for translation/transformation between writing and art (a poem or a philosophical treatise into sculpture or dance) and between art forms. Paying particular attention to cross-cultural differences, this course will also address the many issues raised by the "possibility /impossibility" of translation as well as by sexual difference in translation.


This subject will:

• extend the capacity of students to engage conceptually across the visual and performing arts and across linguistic and philosophical knowledges;
• explore possibilities for the development of individual systems of notations, symbols, signs, pictograms and forms of representation in the arts, using structures of natural language as models
• examine the influence of cross-cultural and sexual difference in translation;
• explore possibilities for the materialization of language as image and sound;
• examine feminist interpretations of the performative body in the arts and literature;
• foster cross-cultural sensitivity and respect.


5000 words or equivalent written and practical project, developed in conjunction with supervisor with feedback throughout the semester (100%).

Prescribed Texts:

Subject Reader

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completing this subject students will have:

• an ability to inhabit the forms of life that are emerging across the Arts and beyond.
• the ability to communicate, cooperate and collaborate in a range of cultural contexts internationally;
• a deep awareness of and respect for cultural differences, protocols and aspirations;
• the ability to generate and promote intercultural dialogue through the arts;
• an ability to initiate research projects and develop highly innovative and experimental modes of representation and communication;
• a high level of understanding and appreciation of transnational practices across the art form;
• the capacity to interpret and translate into clear English a range of discipline-specific vocabularies and languages ;
• a capacity for innovative and original thinking marked by well-developed and flexible problem-solving abilities;
• the capacity to clearly communicate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication;
• a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship;
• a capacity to cooperate and collaborate with people across all national, social and cultural divides.

Related Course(s): Master of Transnational Arts

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