Quilts: A “Thick Translation” Through Museum Exhibits [virtual]


Wenhong Luo (Fudan University)

Quilts, an important form of material culture in the United States, do not have perfect counterparts in China, either in concept or form. This sort of intercultural ambiguity is important but complex terrain for scholars, translators, and curators alike. The gaps of meaning that often open up when exhibits translate across cultures presents a persistent and thorny barrier to effective exhibition design. Using examples from two quilt exhibitions that toured China and the US, I will discuss how ethnographers and curators attempted to “thicken” their translations through a rich process of clarification, demonstration, description, annotation, and interpretation in fieldwork.

Part of 04-01 Translation in/of Folklore Studies: Perspectives from China [hybrid], Friday, October 14, 8:30 am–10:00 am