Category Archives: Academic Conferences

Huh, Translation is Important After All!

The American Translators Association, also known as the ATA, had its “53rd Annual Conference” on October of 2012 in San Diego California.  This conference was focused on the work of translators and the many specialties on which their skills are needed.  Although the association has the name of “American,” it also accepts participants from all over the world who can participate, contribute and become part of this famous association.  The ATA is focused on the quality of translation services provided to many organizations, businesses and the public, especially now in the era of a “global business environment” (ATA website).  The ATA mission “is to benefit translators and interpreters by promoting recognition of their societal and commercial value [… by] establishing standards of competence and ethics, and educating both its members and the public” (ATA website).

According to the conference website, the ATA Conference is a very important event with great focused on professional development, with its main interest being the specific needs of translators and interpreters.  In last year’s conference almost 200 educational sessions were given in more than 12 different languages with focus on a great variety of specializations. (Conference Site).

Although the conference focused on many different trends and specializations like, interpreting, literary translation, medical terminology, financial translation, legal terminology and interpreting, language technology, science and technology, translation & interpreting professions, among the trends that can be identified to be of great relevance to the public are the following:

-Legal Translating and Interpreting, which nowadays has become a great issue for our legal system.  The judicial system wants to keep up with the promise of equal justice for all, and it becomes very important to the court to provide language equality in order to also provide equal justice to the many people who use the system.  Some of the most important papers presented in this category are:  “The Client-Attorney Privilege and the Interpreter’s Duty to Maintain Confidentiality” by Tony A. Rosado, “Essential Anatomy and Physiology for Judiciary Interpreters” by Jennifer de la Cruz, “Immigration Jargon: Interpreting in a World Apart” by Francesca Samuel, and “Political Differences Between the U.S. and Europe from a Translator’s Perspective” by Neil A. Gouw.

-Medical Translating and Interpreting, which goes neck and neck with the Legal Translation and Interpreting in the sense that they both want to provide the best of communication between the parties.  In the medical field translating and interpreting are very, I mean very important.  Great communication can mean the difference between the right and the left kidney or the difference between life and death.  On this category the most important papers are: “So You Are Not a Doctor: Taking the Plunge into Medical Translation without an MD” by Erin M. Lyons, “Becoming a Certification Subject Matter Expert” by Elizabeth Nguyen, and “Understanding the Science Behind the Clinical Trials You Translate” by Denise Anne Figlewicz.

-The third trend, which is go great importance to everyone, is that of science and technology translation and interpreting.  In our globalized culture, we need to focus on everything that affects us, even if it is happening on the other side of the world.  Among the most important papers of this category we have: “An Introduction to Aviation and Air Travel” by Nicholas Hartmann, “DNA Translation: It’s All in the Genes” by Leo van Zanten, and “Basic Concepts of Pharmacology in Drug Development” by Bob Lyon.

This conference seems to be of great importance to the educational, economical, technological and scientific worlds, therefore it affect basically all of us.  Translation is a specialty that is dedicated to many fields and does not find any boundaries.  The ATA conference results should be read and studied by many of us in order to find out, what is going on in the world, as I said, it focuses on many specialties and that makes it a unique scholarship from which we call all benefit from.

Works Cited

“ATA Website” ATA – American Translators Association – Translators Interpreters Translation Interpreting. Ed. Jeff Sanfacon. N.p., 2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <;.

“Conference Website.” American Translators Association (ATA) 53rd Annual Conference. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2013. <;.


Rise of Rebellion: The Chocolate War and The Hunger Games Fight for Justice

By: Molly Boylan

In young adult novels, rebellion can come in the form of chocolate and berries. But are teens rebellious for more than just rebellion’s sake? Yes. More specifically, Robert Cormier and Suzanne Collins each use the hero/heroine of the young adult novel to advance the relationship between reader and reality. In this essay, build on the work of Tom Henthorne, Michael Cart and others who consider various aspects of young adult literature as a whole and each novel respectively. However unlike these scholars, I analyze how The Chocolate War (1974) and The Hunger Games (2008) leave readers with a disturbing awareness of the downfalls of societies in similar plot lines that promote social justice.

In order to look deeper at social justice issues in young adult novels, I use The Chocolate War as the foundational text and consider its influence on teen readers. Thirty-four years later, Suzanne Collins incorporated social action as a theme in The Hunger Games. Each author creates a connection to the readers by evoking empathy, acknowledging the disturbing elements of society, indicate tragic injustices, and demonstrate the social action each protagonist undertakes.

A comparison of these two texts leads to a better understanding how young adult novels motivate teens to consider social action in their own reality.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.

Cormier, Robert.The Chocolate War. New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1974. Print.

Cart, Michael. Young Adult Literature from Romance to Realism. Chicago: American Library Association, 2010. Print.

Henthorne, Tom. Approaching the Hunger Games Trilogy: a literary and cultural analysis. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012. Print

Steinbeck Conference

Kelsey Healey

This May, the John Steinbeck Society of America will present an international conference: Steinbeck and the Politics of Crisis: Ethics, Society, and Ecology. The conference is sponsored by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies which publishes the Steinbeck Review  and maintains an extensive bibliography of articles and books on Steinbeck and his works.

This conference focuses on ethical issues of different kinds and explores some new ways of looking at Steinbeck’s work. The individual papers are grouped into themed sections that reflect some of the major trends in Steinbeck studies. An attention to global and social consciousness, for example, is seen in the sections on “The Female Space,” “Reports from Overseas,” or “Steinbeck and Race in America.” Some of the papers in these sections will take a feminist critical approach to Steinbeck’s novels, or looking at  race relations and what it means to be “American.” Interestingly, the conference will also hear from some international perspectives on this American writer. I find it especially interesting that there will be two papers on Steinbeck’s relationship with Japanese culture, as this is a connection I have come across in my own research.

Other sections of the conference include “Eco-criticism,” “Fresh Critical Approaches,” “New Economic Approaches,” and “Man and Machine.” These sections cover a variety of topics which indicate that readers and scholars are constantly looking at Steinbeck’s works in new ways. As the world around us changes, so do our ways of reading and understanding these texts. For instance, one of the papers to be presented is entitled “John Steinbeck, Spaceship Earth Cosmonaut.” Over the span of the three-day conference, many other topics of interest will be explored as well.

The conference on May 1-3 will be immediately followed by the 33rd annual John Steinbeck Festival on May 4-5; this year’s festival’s theme is “Home.” The festival will honor this particular theme by celebrating the specific places that Steinbeck considered “home” (Salinas, CA, for example) and also exploring the concept of “home” in American culture.

Some other things I discovered, via the Center for Steinbeck Studies website: the John Steinbeck Society periodically presents the “John Steinbeck Award” to recognize “writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures the spirit of Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes. The phrase “In the Souls of the People” comes from Chapter 25 of The Grapes of Wrath.”

I learned that the first recipient of the award was Bruce Springsteen in 1996– which fits in perfectly with my own research that connects these two. Other recipients of the Steinbeck Award include Rachel Maddow, Dolores Huerta, Garrison Keillor, Arthur Miller, and most recently, John Mellencamp in 2012.

The Gathering of the Janeites

By: Noelle Kozak

Calling all Janeites, calling all Janeties! Pull out that regency wear, those worn and tattered novels and get your walking shoes in ready because this fall is sure to be exciting. From September 27-29, the members of the Jane Austen Society of North America will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota for their annual convention and this year’s theme is ever so fitting— Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice …Timeless (JANSA).

It is most appropriate as the novel just celebrated 200 years in publication. JANSA of course is well aware of that and is taking every opportunity to craft a conference that is “that – like the novel – is engaging, thought-provoking, and diverting”(JANSA).  Though they are still working out the official details, this conference is exclusive to “JANSA members and their companions,” but promises to feature a great deal of interesting work, though the details have not been yet made public (JANSA).

According to the society’s website, the Janeites make a point to gather like this every year in either the United States or Canada. They call them their annual general meetings or AGM and each year the event hosts “dozens of lectures by Austen scholars and JASNA members, as well as special exhibits, entertainment, workshops, tours of the local area, and a banquet and Regency ball” (JANSA). For a super fan this sounds like a delightful opportunity for education and a chance to totally geek out about Jane Austen. Who would not want to attend a ball?

The copious amount of scholarly work that they feature within their journals Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line is work that has been presented at each yearly gathering( JANSA). The most recent AGM was held in New York, New York and was entitled, Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction. This conference featured such paper titles as  Variations on a Theme: Openings, Closings, and Returns in Pride & Prejudice, A Sweet Creature’s Horrid Novels: Gothic Reading in Northanger Abbey, and Hierarchy and Seduction in Regency Fashion among many others (JANSA). As mentioned, these conferences are exclusive to members of JANSA, but before you think them snobs, JANSA points out that should outside peoples wish to become members it is really quite easy. All you need to do is go to their membership page and see which category best fits you (JANSA).  For lovers of Jane Austen who want to completely be absorbed in her world, engaging with this group seems like a most worthwhile experience.

Works Cited

“The Jane Austen Society of North America.” – AGMS. JANSA, 04 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <;.

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More Than Meets the Eye: Studies in Children’s Literature

By: Molly Boylan

The Children’s Literature Association (ChLA)  is in its 40th year of promoting scholarship in children’s and young adult literature through its conferences.

ChLA provides a meeting point for scholars, critics, professors, librarians, teachers and institutions to discuss their academic studies in children’s literature. This non-profit association focuses on children’s literature which includes books, film, and media created for children and young adults all over the world.

The Association also rewards outstanding research and scholarship in the children’s literature field by giving scholarships and awards the undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.


Starting in 1973, ChLA has been sponsoring annual Conferences that have been held all over the United States, Canada, and France. This year, the 40th annual conference will commence in June 13-15, 2013 in Biloxi, Mississippi. The 2013 Conference is “Play and Risk in Children’s and Young Adult Literature” which addresses the way authors have included children at play in order to promote education. Also, the conference concentrates on risk in children’s and young adult literature and culture. The Associations website (ChLA)  argues that “Many classic and contemporary works for young people represent children or young adults entertaining themselves or taking chances,” such as Little Women, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

The call for papers suggests members submit presentations and papers with topics such as: children’s games at text, how children’s and young adult (YA) literature or culture put children at risk, Linguistic, stylistic, or formal play in children’s and YA literature and much more.

The 39th conference in 2012 focused on the “Literary Slipstream.”  The Association used the term coined by Bruce Sterlings to mean “fiction of strangeness” and “a parody of mainstream.” Mainly the conference was interested in looking at the ways children’s and young adult literature has crossed, confused, and redefines the genre lines.

Underneath this umbrella of “slipstreams”, there were certain trends that stood out more than others. The overall theme scholars focused on was retellings, re-visioning, and adapting children’s and young adult literature today. However, the sub-trends that arose out of this conference dealt heavily with race and gender.

Numerous panels during the 2012 conference  dealt with race.

For example, the titles of some of the panels were: Slipstreams of Race: Whiteness and Children’s Literature, The African Diaspora as Literary Slipstreams: African and African American Children’s Literature, Retell Me a Story: Re-visionings in African American Children’s Picture Books. Furthermore, the topics of the papers are just as interesting as their panel titles: “Stranger Than Fiction: Depicting Trauma in African American Picture Books” by Zetta Elliott, Borough of Manhattan Community College, “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Color: Whitewashing, Race, and Resistance” by Philip Nel, Kansas State University, and “Hybridity of Form: Re-reading African American Realistic Young Adult Novels” by Amy E. Cherrix, Simmons College just to name a few. It is interesting that books that are commonly thought of as unintelligent or not at the same level as other literature by today’s society deal with some of the most difficult subjects that not even adults want to deal with. We are still struggling today to comprehend and control the stereotypes of certain races that are ingrained in our culture. However, children and young adult literature is now the vehicle to start these conversations with children and with people in general. From a young age we can learn from books the differences of race that promote successful relationships versus negativity. We no longer have to wait until we are older to confront the subject of race.

Another subtopic under the umbrella of slipstreams is gender. From different research that I have done it seems like this is a topic that is continually researched in children’s and YA literature. So is the case with the ChLA Conferece on “Literary Slipstreams”. However, I found that this conference has also included topics of female and male gender. From what I have noticed, the main topics are usually centered on girls in children’s literature; so it is intriguing to see papers dedicated to male gender.

For example, the panel titles consisted of: No Such Thing as Mainstream Girlhood: Girlish Childhoods in Children’s Literature, Stepping into the FairyTale Slipstream: Re-reading Mermaids, Monsters, and Beasts in Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale Revisions, and Child is Father of The Man. Along with these panels, the papers focused on various gender issues with titles like: “Slippery Heroines: The Backfisch and the Ideal(s) of Female Adolescence” by Julie Pfeiffer, Hollins University, “To Prepare or to Protect: Early 20th Century Girls’ Books and the Paradox of Childhood” by Laine Perez, University of Texas at Austin, “Slipstreams and Riptides: Souls and Soullessness in ‘Undine,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘The Light Princess,’ and ‘The Fisherman and His Soul’” by Naomi Wood, Kansas State University, “Walt Disney’s Boyhood Responses to Stories: The Origins of Disney’s Narrative Playfulness” by Mark I. West, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and “Slipping through the Past to Find the Future: The Quest for Manhood in Stoneheart” by Tammy L. Gant, United States Air Force Academy. Many of these papers are taking a look at various ideals or lessons these books are teaching and where they came from. I do believe gender will always be a topic of study in literature in general, but in children’s and young adult literature as well.

By looking deeper into the topic of the conference I have learned that: children’s and young adult literature is more than what is on the surface. Not that I have been oblivious to this (I am taking a Young Adult Literature course this semester) however, it reinforces that what people (children and young adults) read affects their understanding of the world. In order for us to promote children to be accepting and tolerant of others, I find it fitting for scholars to look at the ways in which literature does the same things.  It is important for these topics to be explored in depth at conferences because it is important to understand what the children and young adults are reading and embracing in their literary choices. Also, it shows that the topics adults find important in politics and their own lives like race and gender also have an effect on children and young adults. So pretty much, what the kids are reading is bigger than them; what they are reading is part of a larger conversation that they and we might not know about.

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Words, Words, Words: Hello Rhetoric!

By: Kasey Lynn

The Carolina Rhetorical Conference at Clemson University was held in February of 2012. The conference was two days and it incorporated scholars from different areas of rhetoric. The papers and topics discussed move from classical rhetoric, to current rhetoric, to digital and media rhetoric. It’s interesting that all of those topics were covered at one conference. It shows that there are a range of interests in the study and discussion of rhetoric. A few main trends that appeared at the Carolina Rhetorical Conference were the discussion of the use of rhetoric in digital media and talk shows, politics, identity, and the ethos of rhetoric.

Samuel Fuller and Brian Harmon discuss how rhetoric is used in digital media and talk shows; each discusses the different rhetorical tools that each medium uses to draw their audiences in. Curtis Newbold and Caitlin Holmes discuss rhetoric in politics and America. Holmes in particular discusses how political rhetoric can be isolated from other rhetoric. Nathan Street and Andreas Herzog tackled the issue of identity in rhetoric and whether or not identity is lost or enhanced. And finally the last major trend is the ethos of rhetoric which Mark Schaukowitch, Samara Mouvery, and Jared Colton discuss by looking at religious rhetorical use, credibility, and community writing.  There were other areas of rhetoric that were discussed as well including a paper here and there that discussed the rhetoric of Aristotle and the possible rhetoric of the future. The conference seems to have been very well rounded with the types of papers and ideas that were presented.

These trends matter because it shows that rhetoric is not dead. It shows that even though our society has turned more towards images and appearances there are still people that care about the words. It shows that people are still thinking and are still carefully looking at rhetoric and words and how we, as a society use them to communicate, and use them to try to get what we want from our target audiences. Our society really is focused on what looks good, but when one is ready to look deeper than that, it is the words that are what truly are important. Appearances are not always the same as reality, but words are words, they cannot be changed. They may have several different meanings but they can be taken at face value. Words cannot hide behind lights or cameras, or a costume, or makeup or a mask.

When images lie, words tell the truth.

This is why those trends are important. This is why rhetoric should still be a main focus of today’s society. We owe it to ourselves. We should have access to the truth.

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