Käte Hamburger Lecture

Doing Politics in Translation

Duisburg - 8 October 2015

Embedded in the two-day workshop 'Translation in World Politics', the Centre's 14th Käte Hamburger Lecture took place on 8 October 2015. In his lecture ‘Doing Politics in Translation’ Richard Freeman, Professor of Social Science and Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, explained through Hannah Arendt's work 'The Human Condition' how politics happens.

Asking what we are doing, when we do politics, Freeman returned to Arendt's sense of action as what happens between people and to the significance she attaches to speech and storytelling. He identified meeting, talk and text as the base elements of political action, and puts forward the analytic concepts of trajectory, transformation and translation as ways of understanding the work they do. In figuring out what all this might mean in the international domain, he presented a case study of a meeting which took place in July 1971 between Henry Kissinger, then US Secretary of State, and the then serving Chinese premier Zhou en Lai. In concluding, Prof. Freeman further discussed the implications of 'thinking about doing' for our understandings of power, translation, and the distinction we make between politics and international relations. Freeman concluded that research should focus on the interactional in the international.

Afterwards Dr. Noemi Lendvai, University of Bristol, provided stimulating comments to Freeman’s lecture. The subsequent discussion with the audience was chaired by Dr. Alejandro Esguerra, Postdoc Fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research.

Time: 19-20.30 h
Venue: Gerhard-Mercator-Haus, University Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstraße 57, Duisburg

Invitation Card