The journal Traces: A Multilingual Series on Cultural Theory and Translation was published between 2000 and 2010 in five issues simultaneously released in four different languages (Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean). The intention of the journal project was to challenge a cartographic imaginary relying on the Western prescription of modernity by publishing synchronically in different languages. The multilingual project initiated a different circulation of discourse and offered a design for a different geopolitical economy of theory and empirical data. In the introduction for the issue #1 Naoki Sakai writes to the authors: “Each contributor is expected to be fully aware that she or he is writing for and addressing a heterogeneous and multilingual audience: in the manner of the local intellectual under a colonial regime, every contributor is expected to speak a forked tongue.”

Departing from the history and conceptual approach of Traces, the course addresses the notion of translation as a key political methodology in publishing practices within and outside of academia. During the seminar students will read and analyze a selection of contributions from the journal (Naoki Sakai, Sun Ge, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Meaghan Morris, Dipesh Chakrabarty, among others) through the lens of media and cultural studies. Through digitalizing its archive, the class will make newly available the journal collection, which is no longer in circulation. For the final output of the course, students will form an editorial collective in order to conceive and assemble in digital form a forthcoming, until this day unrealized issue #6 of the journal.

A credit certificate (Schein) is possible with credit in Media Philosophy. 
All materials will be shared via old and new platforms.

The course is addressed to the students of all departments of HfG and universities in the region. It is also open to students, researchers and guests from other institutions and “the world as classroom” (bell hooks) trough the tools of digital space.


Paolo Caffoni
pcaffoni [∂]
Consultation hours: on appointment

Enrolment: via email or Moodle
Wednesday 15:00 – 18:00, bi-weekly
Course start: 2 November 2022
Language: English and more