Translation and Transfer of Knowledge in Encyclopedic Compilations, 1680–1830

Friday, April 12, 2013–Saturday, April 13, 2013
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

—a conference organized by Clorinda Donato, California State University, Long Beach, and Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Universität Saarbrücken

co-sponsored by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


The national character of encyclopedic compilations coincides with the rise of the concept of the nation-state at the end of the eighteenth century. Indeed, knowledge and knowledge transfer that took place in the language of the nation suddenly assumed an important practical and symbolic value. It was practical, on the one hand, in response to the explosion of knowledge in the eighteenth-century world of commercial and colonial competition; it was also symbolic, as control of the world through language became a powerful tool in the forming of perceptions both local and global.

At the end of the eighteenth century, new encyclopedic projects were launched to correct, through translation and adaptation, how a particular nation, people and cultural entity were perceived. Yet, compilations and their role in knowledge transmission constitute an overlooked source for understanding the intercultural dynamics of the global enlightenment. This conference seeks to address this gap with papers addressing representative mediating figures, such as translators, publishers and editors; analysis of exemplary translations, transfer and adaptation processes; practical application of translated compilations in agriculture, economics, geography, history, manufacturing, and industrialization.

Session 1: Knowledge Transfer and the Compiler-Translator’s Challenge
Moderator: Clorinda Donato, California State University, Long Beach

Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Universität des Saarlandes
“Savary Des Brûlons’ Dictionnaire universel de commerce: Translations and Adaptations”

Alain Cernuschi, Université de Lausanne
“The Cultural and Aesthetic Challenges of Translating English and German Articles on the Performing Arts in French Eighteenth-Century Encyclopedias”

Session 2: Adapting, Adopting, Educating, and Training: Crafting Knowledge Transfer in the Dutch Republic
Moderator: Gail Hart, University of California, Irvine

Ina Ulrike Paul, Freie Universität Berlin & Universität der Bundeswehr München
“Camels in the Alps: Translations, Transfer and Adoption Processes in Dutch Encyclopedias”

Arianne Baggerman, Universiteit van Amsterdam
“Long Haul: The Troublesome Publication of the first Dutch Complete Description of Trades and Occupations (1788–1820)”

Session 3: Translating and Transmitting Specialization: Transnational Knowledge, the Encyclopédie méthodique, and Late Eighteenth-Century Compilations
Moderator: Cynthia Stanphill, University of California, Los Angeles

Kathleen Hardesty Doig, Georgia State University
“Translations in the Encyclopédie méthodique

Clorinda Donato, California State University, Long Beach
“Branding Knowledge through Transfer and Translation: The Encyclopédie méthodique in Italy and Spain”

Luigi Delia, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3
“The Migration of Beccaria’s Penal Ideas in Encyclopedic Compilations (1770–1789)”

Session 4: Knowledge Transfer for Popular Audiences in Nineteenth-Century Compilations
Moderator: Patrick Coleman, University of California, Los Angeles

Iwan-Michelangelo D’Aprile, Universität Potsdam
“Transfer and Popularization of Knowledge: Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon in the Early Nineteenth Century”

Jeff Loveland, University of Cincinnati
“Two French Konversationslexika of the 1830s and 1840s: The Dictionnaire de la conversation et de la lecture and the Encyclopédie des gens du monde

Session 5: Shapes, Shadows and Shades of Gray: Form and Content in Transculturation
Moderators: Clorinda Donato, California State University, Long Beach
and Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Universität des Saarlandes

Susanne Greilich, Universität Regensburg
“Compiling Based on Translations: Notes on Raynal’s and Diderot’s Work on the Histoire des deux Indes

Karen Struve, Universität Bremen (abstract presented by Clorinda Donato)
“Barbarians in the Archive: Transfers of Knowledge of the Colonial Other in the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert”

Ulrich Schneider, Universität Leipzig (abstract presented by Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink)
“Johann Heinrich Zedler and the Challenge of Creating a Proper Encyclopedic Article in Mid-Eighteenth Century Germany”