The Dictionary of Gender in Translation is the result of a collective work carried out in the framework of the International Research Network (IRN) World Gender: Cultural and Political Translations of Gender and Gender Studies. The term « Dictionary » is, in many ways, ironic, and it would be more appropriate to speak of an anti-Dictionary. Usually, the purpose of a Dictionary is to stabilize the meaning of a word, based on a list of its most frequent uses. Here, the goal is the opposite: it is rather to pluralize the meaning, to shake it up, to question the consensus, and to open up the terms and concepts to new genealogies and interpretations.
This plurilingual online Dictionary seeks to contribute to the understanding of how concepts and ideas concerning gender (and thus also feminisms and sexualities) travel and combine in many languages and cultures. The goal is to shed light on the ways in which these notions are understood in different linguistic, social, political and cultural contexts, and on how gender studies have developed in these diverse contexts. Our Dictionary proposes an open and non-definitive cartography of the transnational circulations of ideas in the field of gender studies.
The launch of this Dictionary was motivated by the internationalization of gender studies over the past thirty years. By placing the notion of translation – not only linguistic, but also cultural and political – at the center of a reflection on the potential and limits of gender studies as a transdisciplinary and transnational field of research, this Dictionary seeks to better “situate” knowledges on gender, by exploring the linguistic, intellectual, political and cultural effects of the travels of ideas. This approach reveals that “gender” — and the concepts that network with it, such as “queer”, “care” or “intersectionality” — is not a universally applicable concept following pre-defined parameters, but that, on the contrary, the notions that feed into it or depend on it are modified and enriched when they are used in diverse political and cultural contexts as well as in different languages. The objective is thus to bring to light the disjunctions and diffractions of meaning, the continuities and discontinuities, which occur through the circulation of “gender”.
The Dictionary of Gender in Translation aims finally at questioning the resistances to translation, and, with them, the motive and the logic of “untranslatability”. Against the exhaustion of meaning traditionally implied by the notion of untranslatability, the latter is here understood as an opportunity to make meanings proliferate and to hybridize them, by interrogating the privilege of hegemonic languages, notably English, in order to draw out new points of view, new theoretical languages, from alternative contexts of reception and production. So, we lay claim to the heterogeneity of this Dictionary, its heterogeneous and partial character. We see it as a place of experimentation, as much in terms of its form (articles, podcasts, interviews, etc.) as in the content of the entries. The publication of several entries addressing the same term or concept shows our desire not to fix meanings and our will to open the Dictionary to various points of view.
The Dictionary is a work in progress, open to new contributions. To submit a contribution, please fill in the form in the “Submitting proposals” section.
The IRN World Gender is supported by the CNRS and by the Cellex Foundation of Barcelona. Led by the research entity LEGS (CNRS, University of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, University of Paris Nanterre), the IRN World Gender brings together the following institutional partners:
Centre de recerca Teoria, gènere, sexualitat-ADHUC, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.
Doctoral programme Gender, Culture and Society‒SKY, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Centre for Cultural Studies-CCS, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Équipe de recherche et d’étude sur le genre-EREG, Université Hassan 2 de Casablanca, Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines Aïn Chock, Morocco.
French Studies, Romance Studies et Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies – FGSS, Cornell University, United States.
Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies-GSFS, Duke University, United States.
The launch of the Dictionary took place at the University of Barcelona in the framework of the first IRN encounters, held from November 6 to 8, 2019 and attended by eighty researchers from the eight IRN member universities.