Book reviewInterconnecting Translation Studies and Imagology (Benjamins Translation Library 119). Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016. vii, 333 pp.
Reviewed by Cornelia Zwischenberger
University of Graz
This volume, edited by Luc van Doorslaer, Peter Flynn and Joep Leerssen, brings together contributions which discuss translation and Translation Studies (TS) against the backdrop of image studies or imagology. Imagology is rooted in (comparative) literary studies and in the French littérature comparée in particular. It was the French literature scholar Carré (1951) who was the pioneer in promoting imagology as part of comparative literature. The study of national images, representations and stereotypes forms the core of image studies or imagology (cf. Fischer 1979). The editors of this volume prefer the latter term, as they point out at the beginning of their introduction: “Because of the partial overlap with research in visual image studies, we prefer to use the specific term ‘imagology’ […] in order to stress the degree of contemporary interest in the study of national and cultural image-construction worldwide” (2). This explicit focus on nation, national image and stereotype construction through translation as well as a conceptualisation of culture that is tightly linked to the concept of nation is somewhat astonishing in an era dominated by the topos of globalisation. Furthermore, this topos is consistent with an idea of cultures as fragmented and hybrid constructs that are not linked to the notion of a fixed and homogeneous entity such as a nation. The prefix which best describes this notion of culture as something mixed and heterogeneous is ‘trans’, as in ‘transcultural’ and the ideas of transculturality and transcultural communication (cf. Welsch 1999).