We are delighted to announce the launch in January 2021 of our Sawyer Seminar, "Sites of Translation in the Multilingual Midwest." Funded by the Mellon Foundation for 2021-2022, with additional support from LSA, these events are coordinated by U-M faculty in Comparative Literature. For more information please visit our Sawyer Seminar website.
The Department of Comparative Literature coordinates a wide-range of translation initiatives across campus and at all levels of the curriculum.
We offer an undergraduate minor in Translation Studies open to students in all departments and programs at the University of Michigan. We also support various ways for students to engage in translation through coursework and community projects. We host the Senior Prize in Literary Translation, an annual translation contest for graduating seniors. This prize is intended to encourage undergraduate students to develop translation projects through translating into English a literary text originally written in another language. Students also work on Canon Translation Review which features literary translations by undergraduate students.
At the graduate level, we offer a certificate in Critical Translation Studies, and support students to explore professional experiences related to translation. The department supports literary editorial work through our student-led journal, Absinthe: World Literature in Translation, and our graduate students run a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop in literary translation.
In an age of growing global interconnection, knowing how to translate requires more than just language skills. Successful translation is the very condition of possibility when it comes to addressing global, national, and regional challenges. The Department of Comparative Literature is involved in a wide range of translation initiatives at the University of Michigan. We collaborate with departments and programs across campus to promote new work in translation studies, integrating various theories and practices of translation.
The Minor in Translation Studies prepares students to enter into this world and engage with the many possibilities it offers. The Minor gives undergraduates at the University of Michigan an opportunity to explore translation from multiple perspectives, as a movement between languages, media, disciplines, and cultures.
The Graduate Certificate in Critical Translation Studies is open to graduate students across departments. Requirements are designed to provide students an introduction to various modes of translation, historical and contemporary ones, and to explore disciplinary, institutional, cultural, and historical frameworks for shifting concepts and practices. More broadly, the program affords future practitioners and scholars of translation a critical and theoretical understanding of the variety of principles and traditions from which various theories and practices of translation emerge.
We are delighted to welcome Aaron Coleman to the Department of Comparative Literature as our second Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Translation Studies, starting fall 2021. After earning a BA at Kalamazoo College and MFA in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, Aaron completed his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in Translation Studies in 2021 at Washington University.
His doctoral dissertation, Poetics of Afrodiasporic Translation: Negotiating Race, Nation, and Belonging Between Cuba and the United States, examines translational relationships between Black poets in the United States and AfroCuban poets, and it includes his own translation of Nicolás Guillén’s 1967 collection, El gran zoo [The Great Zoo].
Aaron is the author of a prize-winning collection of poems, Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018), and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Program, the Cave Canem Foundation, and the American Literary Translators Association. His poems and essays have appeared in publications including the Boston Review, Callaloo, the New York Times, the Poetry Society of America, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem a Day series.
He is also the founder of The Patchwork Project: A Home for Black Translators & Writers, a virtual meeting ground, and an online database where Black translators and writers from different locations and languages of the African diaspora can partner and work with each other.
The Postdoctoral Fellowship in Critical Translation Studies is funded by LSA with support from the U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series on Sites of Translation in the Multilingual Midwest. It provides the fellow with the opportunity to pursue independent scholarship related to translation, gain teaching experience, and engage with interdisciplinary translation initiatives across the university.