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Julia Charlotte Kersting

Julia Charlotte Kersting
Address IRTG Diversity
University of Trier
DM 242
Phone +49 651 201 2203
E-Mail julia.kersting@uni-saarland.de


It's the same difference.
Literary Translation as a Medium of Cultural Contact in Québec

(Supervisor: Christoph Vatter, Saarbrücken)

Translation is a practice of diversity: the metaphor of the translator as the one who builds bridges across linguistic and cultural distances has been cited many times. However, translation always is negotiation as well – in the textual universe and the one surrounding it.

Especially in a bilingual country like Canada, translation becomes a quotidian, but nonetheless crucial task for maintaining communication and exchanges between two linguistic communities. By studying translations, translation processes and policies, we can learn about these exchanges, about structures underlying communication, about linguistic hierarchies and power struggles. Every act of translation, especially literary translation, gives an insight into the context of its genesis, into hermeneutical understanding and the surrounding socio-cultural circumstances. Translations are a medium and an indicator of multi- and transcultural realities at once. They tell us about courses of cultural merging, where newness emerges out of exchanges, or possibilities of cultural resistance, where attempts of cultural assimilation or appropriation are being rejected.

It is the aim of my dissertation to retrace these processes, their contexts and circumstances to portray the many ways in which the diverse Canadian society is coming to terms with its multiple literary paradigms. Examining the English translations and dramatic adaptations of Réjean Ducharme's novel L'hiver de force (1973) as an example, the dissertation will retrace the cultural exchange processes between the French-speaking Québécois literary community and an English-speaking Canadian audience from the 1970s and 80s until today. The temporal setting of the dissertation is thereby particularly interesting, as the 1970s constitute a key moment in the history of literary translation activities within Canada: Québec's contemporary literature, emerging from the historic upheavals of the “Quiet Revolution”, starts to be of significant interest for the rest of Canada. Furthermore, it is the beginning of the institutionalisation of literary translation with the founding of the Literary Translators' Association of Canada in 1975.


2014 - 2015
Master's Degree in Literary Translation (specialization French) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany
2011 - 2012
Study visit at the Université de Montréal, Canada
2009 - 2010
Erasmus stay at the Université Libre de Bruxelles
2007 - 2013
Magister studies in Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literature, Dutch Studies and Art History at the University of Vienna, Austria

Work Experience

Participation in the Georges Arthur Goldschmidt Programme for young literary translators in Paris, Arles and Berlin
Participation in the CEAD Translators' Seminar at the Montreal Theatre Festival Dramaturgies en Dialogue
Guest at the archive of the manuscript department of the German Literature Archive in Marbach am Neckar

Awards and Fellowships

Scholarship from the Bavarian State Chancellery for the writing of a master's thesis in the field of literary translation in Montréal
2011 - 2012
Scholarship from the University of Vienna for writing the master's thesis in Comparative Literature at the Université de Montréal


(co-authored with Geneviève Robichaud) The Call of Translation to Research-Creation: Some Thoughts on Recent Panel, in: Ursula Lehmkuhl/Lutz Schowalter (eds.), Translating Diversity - Concepts, Practices, and Politics. Diversity/Diversité/Diversität, vol. 4 (Münster: Waxman), 185-196.
Translation of "Beauvais, Clémentine: Die seltsame Geschichte der beiden Liebschaften des Jean-Baptiste Robert", in: Annette Wassermann (ed.), L’amour toujours - toujours l’amour? (Berlin: Wagenbach).

Conference Presentations

„La colonisée des colonisés?“
8ième colloque de l’Association des Jeunes Chercheurs Européens en Études Québécoises (AJCEEQ), Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, 05-06/10/2017.
The Call of Translation: Mediating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Within Canada (with Geneviève Robichaud)
IRTG Diversity International Conference, Canada 150: Grappling with Diversity since 1867, Université de Montréal, 15-16/09/2017.
The Language of the Colonized or the Language of the Colonial? L'avalée des avalés and the Discourse of (De-)Colonization in Québec
14th Graduate Student Conference of the Young Scholars' Forum of the Association for Canadian Szudies in German-speaking Countries, Universität Konstanz, 07-09/07/2017.
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