Dian Dian 典典

Academic & Activist 学者 & 社运人士

A Genealogy of the Translingual Practice of “Ku’er” and “Lala”

13: 40-14: 00 CET 28/05/2021

This paper focuses on two important terms in contemporary Sinophone queer studies: “ku’er (a creative translation of queer)” and “lala (a local term for women-loving women).” I argue that activists and scholars intentionally develop new discourses and imagine new strategies based on the implications of these two terms and therefore, construct them as analytical categories. While “queer” has travelled from the West to the Sinophone world as “ku’er,” “lala” also has travelled to the Anglophone world through scholarly work about Sinophone lala culture and activism. I prioritize the vehicle of these “travels” – the translation – within the framework of “translingual practice” (Lydia. H. Liu 1995). This framework replaces the notion of “target/source” language with “host/guest” language, overturning the hierarchy of “origin” and “translation”. Besides, translingual practice refers to the conditions of translation, or the dynamic process in which new terms and discourses gain legitimacy in the “host language”. It demonstrates how translation opens up a new historical space between the two languages where the non-traditional is not necessarily from the West, and the modern is not necessarily non-Chinese. In my work, I take this framework to discuss how “modern” concepts about gender and sexuality, such as “ku’er” and “lala,” become contextually meaningful and have acquired legitimacy in both languages (i.e., Chinese and English) in the process of “translingual practice”. I argue that the cross-cultural traveling of gender/sexuality discourses is not a one-way journey from the Anglophone to the Sinophone world, but a productive process where the irreducible differences between the host and guest language, the translators’ positions/agendas, and the competing (or complementary) politics confront each other and create new possibilities in both linguistic worlds. A better understanding of this process may help reduce some biased assumptions in studying gender and sexuality issues in the Sinophone world. 

Dian Dian is a curious wanderer. She looks forward to connecting with more people full-heartedly. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the Emory University in Atlanta, USA. She earned her MPhil in History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and two B.A. degrees in both Chinese Classics and Philosophy at the Renmin University of China. She started volunteering in the feminist and lala movements in Beijing in 2009. Since then, she has developed an interest in gender/sexuality issues. She worked in the Chinese Lala Alliance from 2013-2016 and was the editor-in-chief of Queer Lala Times, the online magazine focused on gender and sexuality issues in the Sinophone world. 

考察“酷儿”与“拉拉”的跨语际实践

本文关注两个在当代华语酷儿研究中十分重要的概念:“酷儿”(对“Queer”一词富有创意的翻译)和“拉拉”(指代“爱女人的女人”的本土俚语)。我认为这两个词语能够成为学术分析的范畴,因为社会活动家和学者有意地使用它们的涵义,来创造新的论述、想象新的策略。当Queer一词从其西方起源地“旅行”到华语世界并成为“酷儿”时,“Lala”这个概念也通过研究华语区拉拉文化与运动的英文著作来到了英语世界。通过采用刘禾的“跨语际实践”这一理论框架,我特别强调这些“旅行”的媒介——翻译。这一框架用“主方语言/客方语言”这一对概念取代了“目标语言/源语言”这对概念,颠覆了翻译研究中“本源”高于“译文”的秩序。“跨语际实践”强调的是产生译文的诸多条件,或者说是新的词汇和话语在“主方语言”中获得合法性的动态过程,它揭示了翻译行为是如何在两种语言之间打开了一个新的历史空间,在这里非传统的未必就是西方舶来的,而现代的也未必就是非中国的。在我的研究中,这一的框架帮助我讨论一些关于性/别的“现代”新词语,比如“酷儿”和“拉拉”,是如何在“跨语际实践”的过程中,在华语和英语中获得了特别的意义和合法性的。现代的性/别话语的跨文化“旅行”,在我看来并非只是英语到华语世界的单程旅行,而是一个生产性的互动过程,在此过程中,主方与客方语言间无法化约的差异、译者的立场与利益、以及彼此竞争或补充的政治议程彼此相遇了,并在两个语言世界中都创造出新的可能性。对这一过程更细致的理解,将有助于减少对华语语系性/别议题的研究中一些有偏见的假设。

典典,一个充满好奇心的漫游者,希望能和更多人建立真诚的联结。目前是美国亚特兰大埃默里大学的女性与性别研究系的博士候选人。她曾获得香港中文大学的历史学硕士学位和中国人民大学的国学和哲学学士学位。2009年,典典在北京参与女权与拉拉运动。从此,她关注性/别议题。2013-2016年期间,她在华人拉拉联盟工作,并主编过关注华语区性/别议题的线上刊物《酷拉时报》。