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Vol. 31 No. 2
March-April 2009

Where 2B &Y | Announcements of conferences, symposia, workshops, meetings, and other upcoming activities.

Mediators of Science: Women Translators
28 July–2 August 2009, Budapest, Hungary

As the field of women’s studies blossoms, the contribution of women to scientific development is becoming better known. However, studies mainly focus on original contributions and solitary figures, whereas knowledge also progresses through translation, comments, and popularization. Women translated original scientific contributions, including textbooks, essays, treatises, papers published in journal, and popular science books. Aphra Behn translated Fontenelle’s famous Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes in 1686; Emilie du Chatelet made a famous translation of Newton’s Principia Mathematica in 1749; and Mary Somerville provided a lucid exposition in English of Laplace’s well-known Mécanique Céleste, in 1831. Less well known but crucial to the development of science during the eighteenth century are Marie-Geneviève-Charlotte d’Arconville, Claudine Picardet, and Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze Lavoisier. Many other women translators are to be found and deserve further investigation.

This symposium will address the many issues involving these women translators of science during a time span that overlaps the early modern period. It will take place at the 23rd International Congress on the History of Science and Technology, 28 July–2 August 2009, Budapest, Hungary.

Among the many issues the symposium will address are the following: Who were these women? Did they choose anonymity or did they prefer to sign their work? Why did they devote themselves to translation? Which audience was targeted? How was their work received and used by the (almost exclusively) male scientific community? Was there a specific role for women in cross-cultural exchange? Since women were also active translators in other topics (theater, history, poetry, philosophy, and novels), how specific or extraordinary was the choice of a scientific topic?

Often translations are introduced by a preface and supplemented with notes. How deep did their translation reshape the original text? To what extent is the new version not an original work in itself? Was it a means through which women could find a way to make their voice heard in the masculine République des lettres?

For more information, please contact the symposium organizers: Brigitte Van Tiggelen <vantiggelen@memosciences.be> and Patrice Bret <patrice.bret@dga.defense.gouv.fr>.

www.conferences.hu/ichs09


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