About the Exhibit


The Mellon Sawyer Seminar draws on interdisciplinary resources at the University of Michigan in order to investigate how translation is situated in multiple locations in the multilingual Midwest. Who translates, and why? What is translated, and for whom? How is translation disseminated, when and where? 
We ask these questions in order to move beyond a narrow framing of translation as a process and product of language transfer, often with an emphasis on literature as the preferred translational resources.  We challenge that idealized framing by juxtaposing and analyzing multiple histories and practices of translation in the Midwest, and affirming the centrality of translation in a region that is commonly assumed to be homogeneous and monolingual.

The seminars will develop a comparative frame of analysis, highlighting various language practices that allow different language groups to assert their cultural identities, while at the same time engaging in community-building efforts to integrate into a multicultural and multilingual American society.


The exhibit was curated by Marlon James Sales (mjsales@umich.edu), Barbara Alvarez (barbalva@umich.edu)Fe Susan Go (fsgo@umich.edu), Charlotte Fater (chagrafa@umich.edu), and Julia Irion Martins (irionm@umich.edu). Translations from Chinese were provided by Colin Garon (cgaron@umich.edu), and exhibition assistance was provided by Caitlin Pollock (pollockc@umich.edu). 

Rights Statement

The University of Michigan Library has placed copies of these works online for educational and research purposes. These works may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these works, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about this exhibit, please contact the Special Collections Research Center (special.collections@umich.edu). If you have concerns about the inclusion of an item in this exhibit, please contact ask-omeka@umich.edu.

Near-Death and Afterlives