The James M. Carpenter Lecture with Aruna D’Souza “Against Empathy: The Value of Mistranslation in Art and in Life”
The James M. Carpenter Lecture Fund was established by Jacqueline K. Davidson, alumna of Colby College, to honor Professor James Carpenter (1914-1992). It is Mrs. Davidson’s goal to recognize Professor Carpenter’s deep and lasting impact on her and on the College, as the founder and first Director of the Colby College Museum of Art and the first Chair of the Art Department. Professor Carpenter was also the first to hold the Ellerton and Edith Jetté Professorship in Art.
Aruna D’Souza presents the 2020 James M. Carpenter Lecture
“Against Empathy: The Value of Mistranslation in Art and in Life”
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
F.W. Olin Science Center – Olin 1
Raqs Media Collective, The Translator’s Silence, 2012
In our increasingly fragmented political sphere, many people embrace the idea that empathy is a vital tool to achieve understanding each other, and by turn a more just society. But what if misunderstanding—the mistranslation that exists at the heart of all communication—enriches our experience of the world? What if, instead of seeking to understand each other, we were better off learning to accept that we might never understand—and work for justice regardless? Starting with Amitav Ghosh’s novel Sea of Poppies and touching on the work of a number of artists, including Raqs Media Collective, Nina Katchadourian, and others, this talk will explore the possibilities that are offered when we allow the frictions of mistranslation to frame our view of the world.
Sponsored by the James M. Carpenter Lecture Fund and the Department of Art