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How to Talk to Strangers: Interpreters in Early Modern Encounters

October 30, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Image of cropped section of an etching of a 16th century bazaar in Banten Indonesia. Various people in many kinds of costumes speak or walk around goods
Image: Bantam (Banten)’s Bazaar, 1596.


Monday Seminar:

Su Fang Ng

Solmsen Fellow (2017-2018)

Clifford A. Cutchins III Associate Professor of English, Virginia Tech


Early modern European long-distance voyages had their impetus in the search for the source of spices, the Spice Islands of the Moluccas, or Maluku. When Europeans sailed to the East Indies, how did they communicate with locals? In archipelagic Southeast Asia where the lingua franca was Malay how did they navigate the new linguistic environment? Who were the interpreters who mediated such transactions? What was the nature of the relationship between interpreters and those for whom they translated? How did experiences of encounter inflect literary representation?


Su Fang Ng is Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor and Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech. She has published Literature and the Politics of Family in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and essays on medieval, early modern, and postcolonial topics. A second book, Alexander the Great from Britain to Southeast Asia, is under contract with Oxford University Press. She has held visiting fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, the National Humanities Center, the University of Texas at Austin, Heidelberg University, and All Souls College, Oxford.


October 30, 2017
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States