Conflict, Borders, Multilingualism, Translation

This seminar treats the language politics of Cyprus as a way into discussions of borders, conflict, translation, and, more generally, intercultural communication.

GLS 315/HLS 360/TRA 315

Conflict, Borders, Multilingualism, Translation

Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, Nicosia, Cyprus
June 6 – July 15, 2022

Argyro Nicolaou, lecturer in Modern Greek Language

This course fulfills the Literature and Arts (LA) general education requirement, as well as a requirement for the certificates in translation and intercultural communication and in hellenic studies.

Nicosia — Lefkosia in Greek, Lefkoşa in Turkish — is, as the triple name suggests, the site of intense linguistic and cultural interaction. It is the last divided city in the world; its old, walled city center is split roughly in half by a UN buffer zone that has been in place since the détente of 1974. It is both a post-conflict and a post-colonial city, with a past as a British protectorate, with strong political and cultural ties to both Greece and Turkey. The languages of Nicosia, and of Cyprus more generally, are multiple and ever-shifting, from Greek and Turkish to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot — all of them also multiple and shifting even within themselves — to the many languages of third-country nationals living on the island, including UN personnel, economic migrants, refugees and foreign investors.

This seminar treats the language politics of Cyprus as a way into discussions of borders, conflict, translation, and, more generally, intercultural communication. Students will read literary, historical, anthropological, sociological, legal and other materials dealing with the island, its linguistic and social makeup, its present and its past. In addition to critical readings in these fields, students will meet with numerous individuals living and working on the island, including writers, artists, anthropologists, politicians, activists, and, of course, translators actively engaged in multicommunal efforts to forge connections and relationships across Cyprus’s many divides. Our classes will meet in the buffer zone itself, at the offices of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, an NGO invested in peace and reconciliation efforts on the island. Trips further afield will take us to sites of cultural, political, and historical interest both north and south of the Green Line, including Limassol, Larnaca, Kyrenia, Famagusta and Karpasia.

Each student will choose to study either Greek or Turkish during their time on Cyprus; this mix will allow students, too, to take part in the language brokering aspect of the course, serving as de facto translators for one another during both formal and informal excursions in Nicosia and Cyprus.

“Conflict, Borders, Multilingualism, Translation” is cosponsored by the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, with the support of The Paul Sarbanes ’54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service, The Andreas Vourecas-Petalas ’70 Endowment, The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund, and The Erric B. Kertsikoff Fund for Hellenic Studies.

The Global Seminars will take place in-person and in-country in summer 2022, however, in-country seminars will be contingent on a number of factors including University travel guidelines, government travel restrictions and public health advice. Please direct questions to Yolanda Sullivan, program manager.