Untranslatability may be defined, borrowing Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak’s words, as the «possible menace of a space outside language or the experience of contained alterity in an unknown language» (1993: 181). Post-colonial studies of translation, she contends, should be devoted to the ethical safeguarding of language from the exclusion or containment of alterity. She insists that, on epistemological and ethical grounds, any utterance inevitably excludes or contains. Thus, post-colonial approaches to translation should sketch ‘the itinerary of the trace’ that the subaltern author has left, marking the sites where the subaltern is effaced. In every utterance, she urges us to hear the faint whisper of what could not be said. Spivak wants the traces of those exclusions to haunt us. On the contrary, Patricia Grace’s novel Cousins (1992) ‘stages’ or ‘performs’ the exclusion and containment of Maori women’s discourse, entailing a re-conceptualization of the writer as translator alongside the translator as writer (Bassnett and Bush 2006; Derrida 1982). In her writing, post-colonial and feminist approaches to translation and writing meet in their common desire to foreground post-colonial female discourse in the production of meaning (Bassnett and Trivedi 1999; Godard 1990). More specifically, it is the contention of this study that the partial untranslatability of Maori women’s experience of the ancestral, yet patriarchal genealogical ties of whakapapa, which lie at the centre of the 1970s-1980s Maori feminist debate, is highlighted in the novel through the use of loan translation and loanwords.

Whakapapa: The Untranslatability and Performativity of Maori Feminism in Patricia Grace’s Cousins

RUSSO, KATHERINE ELIZABETH
2011

Abstract

Untranslatability may be defined, borrowing Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak’s words, as the «possible menace of a space outside language or the experience of contained alterity in an unknown language» (1993: 181). Post-colonial studies of translation, she contends, should be devoted to the ethical safeguarding of language from the exclusion or containment of alterity. She insists that, on epistemological and ethical grounds, any utterance inevitably excludes or contains. Thus, post-colonial approaches to translation should sketch ‘the itinerary of the trace’ that the subaltern author has left, marking the sites where the subaltern is effaced. In every utterance, she urges us to hear the faint whisper of what could not be said. Spivak wants the traces of those exclusions to haunt us. On the contrary, Patricia Grace’s novel Cousins (1992) ‘stages’ or ‘performs’ the exclusion and containment of Maori women’s discourse, entailing a re-conceptualization of the writer as translator alongside the translator as writer (Bassnett and Bush 2006; Derrida 1982). In her writing, post-colonial and feminist approaches to translation and writing meet in their common desire to foreground post-colonial female discourse in the production of meaning (Bassnett and Trivedi 1999; Godard 1990). More specifically, it is the contention of this study that the partial untranslatability of Maori women’s experience of the ancestral, yet patriarchal genealogical ties of whakapapa, which lie at the centre of the 1970s-1980s Maori feminist debate, is highlighted in the novel through the use of loan translation and loanwords.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/50011
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