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Professor Avagyan Publishes Essay in Critical Anthology

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YEREVAN, Armenia The American University of Armenia (AUA) Graduate Certificate in Translation Program is pleased to announce the recent publication of Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation, a critical anthology that includes an essay by Assistant Professor Dr. Shushan Avagyan. The volume is edited by Dr. Kavita Bhanot and Jeremy Tiang, prominent scholars in the field of translation. The anthology also includes works by several leading contemporary voices such as Anton Hur, M. NourbeSe Philip, Mona Kareem, and others.

Dr. Avagyan’s essay, “Translations from Armenian: Reimag(in)ing the Inassimilable,” is an excerpt from her doctoral dissertation focusing on the various infidelities that have shaped the way Anglo-American audiences have read and perceived the Armenian experience.

“In focusing on the various kinds of infidelities that become sites of ethical contention between the two opposing principles of translatability and untranslatability, I have sought to revise modes of reading and devise critical methods of approaching translations of Armenian texts that raise levels of awareness,” explains Dr. Avagyan. “To that end, I have examined some of the earliest texts that were translated from Armenian into English that have conditioned the understanding of the Armenian experience in the Anglo-American world, including The Golden Maiden and Other Folk Tales and Fairy Stories Told in Armenia, translated by folklorist A. G. Seklemian in 1898, and Raffi’s The Fool, translated by Jane Wingate in 1917. We never think about it, but translation shapes the way communities, cultures, and nations are received, perceived, and treated.”

Noted American author and translator John Keene writes in praise of the book: “Violent Phenomena represents a needed new intervention in translation theory, and a crucial text for decolonizing the field and practice. Ranging across languages and approaches, this collection blazes a compelling new path for understanding the politics of translation (including untranslation) and ways of recognizing and incorporating resistance in translation practice.”

According to Kristen Vida Alfaro, publisher of Tilted Axis Press (UK), Violent Phenomena has been doing very well since its publication in July 2022 and has already been added to the syllabi of many graduate translation courses.

The anthology is available through AUA’s Papazian Library.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.