Conference: Translating Cultures in the Hispanic World – University of Edinburgh, Nov 7-8, 2013

Translating Cultures in the Hispanic World, 7-8 November 2013, University of Edinburgh

Location: Teviot Dining Room, Teviot Row, 13 Bristo Square, Edinburgh EH8 9AJ

The dual mission of the radically novel journal Art in Translation consists in challenging the boundaries of conventional art history as practised in Europe and North America, and stimulating thinking about the problems and paradoxes of translation within the art historical discourse. Translating Cultures in the Hispanic World, is the fourth conference hosted by AIT, exploring the interface between the visual arts and theories of cultural translation.

(Image: The Encounter between Cortés and Montezuma II, 19th c. / Bridgeman Art Library)

The Hispanic world represents an exceptionally rich and fertile context in which to reflect on the role of translation not only as a vehicle for cultural exchange, the transmission of bodies of knowledge and memory, but also as a means of either asserting or resisting power in order to create something new. Drawing on translation theory, the conference seeks to encourage new ways of thinking about influence, reception, and mis-appropriation. Issues to be addressed include: domestication versus foreignization; transgressive modes of translation; translation between different media and contexts; translation-knowledge-power; translation as colonization.

The conference is transhistorical, shifting focus from medieval Spain to the wider Hispanic world in the early modern and modern period. Topics to be covered include:
– objects of cross-cultural communication in medieval Spain
– shifts and adaptations in Iberian iconographies
– transfer and transformations of Iberian models of art in Latin America
– cultural representations of social ‘others’
– 19th-century photography, the image as transmitter of another presence
– historiography; the reception of Hispanic art.

Thursday, 7 November 2013,  9.00 – 18.00

Welcome Address

Session 1: Visual Culture and Translation in Medieval Spain

  • Alejandro García Aviles (Professor of Art History, Universidad de Murcia), “Lost & found in translation: visual interpretation in medieval astrological iconography”.
  • Mariam Rosser-Owen (Curator of Middle Eastern collections, Victoria &Albert Museum), “Islamic ivories in Christian contexts: gift exchange and relic translation”.
  • Tom Nickson (Lecturer, Courtauld Institute), “Texts and talismans in medieval Castile”.
  • Emily Goetsch (PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh), “Translating Cartography: The Mappaemundi of the Beatus Commentary on the Apocalypse”.

Session 2: Spain and the New World

  • Tom Cummins (Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art History; Harvard University) – The Matter of Metaphor: An Ambiguous Image of Empire in a 16th Century Peruvian Manuscript.
  • Felipe Pereda (Nancy H. and Robert E. Hall Professor of the Humanities, Johns Hopkins University), “Translation/translatio: importing sacred images in the new world”.
  • Maria Judith Feliciano (Independent Scholar, Seattle), “Towards a theory of Mudejar art” [Mudejar in Mexico]

Friday, 8 November 2013,  9.30 –  17.00

Session 3: Foreignisation, Domestication, Adaptation

  • Marjorie Trusted (Senior Curator of Sculpture, Victoria & Albert Museum)  “Melchiorre Caffa’s sculpture of Sta Rosa of Lima. The export of a baroque marble sculpture from Rome to Peru”.
  • Carmen Fracchia (Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Spanish Visual Studies at Birckbeck, University of London), “Whitening the African body in early modern Spain”.
  • Laura Fernandez Gonzalez (former Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh), “Madrid and the wider world: domestic architecture and the Spanish empire in the sixteenth century”.

Session 4: Modernity, Memory and Historiography

  • Andrew Ginger (Professor of Iberian and Latin American Studies, University of Bristol, UK) “Translating presence: photographing actors”.
  • Hilary Macartney (Research Associate, University of Glasgow), “In true fac-simile? The invention of photography and the reproduction of Spanish art”.
  • Jens Baumgarten (Professor of Art History, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), Brazil), “Translations of concepts: Brazil, Hanna Levy and the Neo-Baroque”.
  • Gabriela Siracusano (Director Instituto de Investigaciones sobre el Patrimonio Cultural Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM), Researcher at the National Research Council, Argentina) , “Faraway tools for local tales: uses and appropriation of European theories and methods in the construction of a national art history in Argentina”.

Conference fees:
£30 (£15 concessions)
The conference is free for University of Edinburgh students (who will still need to register).

Online Registration: Click Here

For further information, email:


About emspanishhistorynotes

Scott Taylor is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Kentucky.


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