This essay is an ethnographic analysis of the violent world of translation in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the provinces referred to in the general idiom of “the countryside” by Afghan translators who encounter rural subjects as part of an international military campaign. It begins with the tragedy of translation as an elegiac matter of the heart closing, and it attempts to understand the metaphor of closure alongside that of strangeness and (un)translatability in a series of encounters that take us into the heart of death-dealing and wartime representation as the encounter between foreign languages.
The Closing: Heart, Mouth, Word
Fatima Mojaddedi is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and obtained her PhD from Columbia University. Her research is based in Afghanistan where she considers questions of modernity and language; theories of subjectivity, memory, and the cultural unconscious; as well as archival histories of empire and economy.
Fatima Mojaddedi; The Closing: Heart, Mouth, Word. Public Culture 1 September 2019; 31 (3): 497–520. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-7532703
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