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Translating Dalit Testimony: Negotiating Rights Across Languages

Friday, February 3, 2012
12:00 AM
Kalamazoo Room, Michigan League

A public lecture presented by Christi Merrill 2012 CICS Human Rights Fellow and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Languages and Cultures

The talk will compare two first-person narratives translated from Hindi that offer protests against entrenched systems of caste-based discrimination. Both contain scenes of violence based on real-life experience, but one is labeled a short story and the other an autobiography. How do our expectations as English-language readers shape our moral assessment of their stories? More generally, how do purportedly universal notions such as “truth,” “justice,” and “rights” translate?