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The Mediated Nature of Knowledge and the Pushing-hands Approach to Research on Translation History

Author/Editor: Cheung, Martha P.Y

Year of publication: 2012

Keywords: translation history, pushing-hands, interventionist historiography, self-reflective historiography, translation in China, taiji

Place of Publication & Publisher: Translation Studies (London and New York:Routledge), Vol.5, No.2: 156-171.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rtrs20/current

ISBN/ISSN: 1478-1700

Publication blurb:

This article focuses on the mediated nature of knowledge as the key theoretical issue pertaining to research on translation history. It is widely admitted that knowledge in the humanities is not impersonal but situated. Especially heavily mediated is knowledge in the domain of translation history, the difference in time, space and language being particularly difficult challenges for researchers in their attempts to interpret and represent the past. The article offers a critical overview of various established ways of dealing with historical knowledge, and presents what I regard as a most fruitful mode of researching translation history. Borrowing a term from Chinese martial art, I call it the “pushing-hands” (tuishou 推手) approach to translation history, which seeks to bring the past and the present into dialogic engagement and offer an alternative to the dichotomous thinking characterizing much humanities research today.  

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