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Cultural Translation and Chinese-Canadian Studies

Contextualized within larger debates about multicultural Canadian society and the specific Chinese-Canadian cultural experience, the workshop offered an in-depth analysis of Chinese-Canadian communities from the late eighteenth century to the present. Translation, understood as an ongoing cultural negotiation with productive and perhaps subversive power, provides an innovative conceptual perspective for exploring these experiences, encompassing boundary-crossing, social interaction, migration and cultural exchange. Applying translation to these contexts stretches their conceptual application from linguistic transfer to cultural and political production, thereby injecting a new perspective into Chinese-Canadian Cultural Studies.

The event was held at York University on 13–14 March 2014 and hosted by the York Centre for Asian Research.

This research workshop investigated cultural interactions across various axes of difference, such as gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, philosophy, history, literature, migration, marketplace and diasporas – each taken as unstable categories of cultural production in the Chinese-Canadian experience.

Workshop sessions included:

  • Migration, Earnings and Marketplace in Chinese-Canadian Communities
  • Diasporas and Multiculturalism in Chinese-Canadian Society
  • Identities and Citizenship in Chinese-Canadian Narratives
  • Historicity, Mobility, and Aspiration in Chinese-Canadian Literature
  • Translating Narratives, Cultures, and Identities in Hong Kong-Canadian Poetry
  • Mobility and Gender Politics: Chinese-Canadian Immigrants Experience

The workshop programme is available here.

The workshop was opened with a keynote lecture by the Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy who spoke on “Perspectives: Canadian Society and Chinese Immigration.”

Organized by Jessica Tsui Yan Li (York University) and Eric Fong (University of Toronto), the workshop included senior scholars, emerging academics, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as community and business leaders whose work leads them to focus on cross-cultural encounters, movements across borders, processes of displacement and historical change.

The workshop was supported by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), YCAR, the Asian Business Network Association, the Canadian Studies Programme at the University of Toronto, and the following York University sponsors: Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, East Asian Studies Programme, Department of Humanities, Department of History and Department of Geography.