Debating Buddhist Translations in Cyberspace: The Buddhist Online Discussion Forum as a Discursive and Epitextual Space
|Dates:||21 January 2021|
|Times:||13:00 - 14:30|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
Recent research in contemporary Buddhist studies has evinced a growing interest in how Buddhism is constructed and performed in the digital space (Grieve and Veidlinger 2015), and how such online spaces intersect with or challenge traditional spaces of Buddhist practice in the offline context. One area within this “Buddhist cyberspace” is that of discussion forums, which play an important part in constructing particular discourses surrounding the Western reception of Buddhism. These discursive spaces incorporate a complex mélange of doctrinal positions, textual competencies, and levels of Buddhist practitioner experience.
This paper examines one discussion thread within a larger Buddhist forum, in which participants discuss translations of the Lotus Sutra. It analyses the ways in which authority and expertise are performed by the various discussants, focusing in particular on how intertextual elements – whether in the form of quotation from the translations themselves, their paratexts, or related discussions in other forums – are manipulated to contest claims as to the doctrinal or soteriological authenticity of given translations. The paper concludes with reflections on the relationship between the forum as discursive space in its own right and as epitextual space that is both liminal to and shapes interpretation of the sutras it references.
Organisation: Hong Kong Baptist University
Biography: Robert Neather is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. His interests include translation in the Chinese museum context, and collaborative translation in Buddhist translation communities. He has published in various venues including Meta, Semiotica, The Translator and Interventions, and was editor of Martha Cheung’s Chinese Discourse on Translation, Volume 2 (Routledge 2017).
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