University of Edinburgh, 1-3 September 2016

What is the relationship between ‘translation’ and ‘religion’? While all ‘religions’ travel and engage in translation of one kind or another, what gets translated? How do the different components of what is currently understood as ‘religion’—texts, practices, experiences, inner faith or belief systems—translate differently? How can we analyze such commonly held beliefs that some languages simply are sacred and should not be translated? And what are the implications of such questions for understanding religious conversion? What can translation concepts and methods tell us about the way religions and the study of religions are constructed?

While both disciplines have evolved and grown rapidly over the past half century, each has also engaged, in the past few decades, in a re-evaluation of its basic ideas and terms, including fundamental categories such as ‘religion’ and ‘translation.’ It can no longer be taken for granted that there is one definition for what comprises the ‘sacred’ or indeed a ‘correct’ or ‘good’ translation. Such re-assessment provides an excellent context within which to creatively engage the two to generate forward-looking theoretical perspectives. This three-day AHRC-funded conference aims to bring together scholars from the two disciplines to investigate theories, concepts and methods with comparative and critical tools in order to evaluate areas of mutually creative overlap.

For further details, please see Call for Papers. Please send titles and abstracts of not more than 250 words by April 15, 2016 to ­­­­­­John Zavos at along with a 100-word bio-note.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Alan Williams, University of Manchester

From Oceanography to Fillet-O-Fish®.  The Spectrum of Translation of the Poetry of Rumi

Professor Arvind Pal Mandair, University of Michigan

Complicating Contact Zones: Translation as Practice of Creating Concepts and Self-Differentiation