A seminar for PhD studens within the fields of the Humanities, Law and Theology. The seminar is free of charge, and travel expenses will be covered. The application deadline is September 1, 2020.

Photo: Jarli&Jorgan/UiO

How to participate


For most authoritative texts with a wide-ranging impact, a major aspect of their reception and transmission is constituted by their translation into a different language. Since any translation of a text is inherently interpretive, and since translations often become authoritative in themselves, the phenomenon of translation adds an important layer of complexity to the already richly interpretive process of the reception and transmission of authoritative texts. This interdisciplinary ATTR-seminar explores these aspects from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, exemplified on a wide range of materials from past and present. Areas to be explored include translations of the Bible into Arabic, of the Qur’an from Arabic, translations of texts in Latin and other languages into Old Norse, as well as translations between modern languages. Presentations by leading experts will cover a range of topics including gender aspects, theological aspects, and general theoretical and methodological aspects of translation of ancient and modern texts alike. In addition, participants will give and receive interdisciplinary feedback on each other’s on-going PhD-projects. 

Practical information

  • This seminar will be a hybrid online/IRL due to the COVID-19 situation
  • The seminar equals 5 ECTS
  • The seminar is free of charge and most of your expenses (flight tickets, hotel, most meals) will be covered
  • Application deadline: September 1. 2020
  • Registration is binding, provided that you are admitted. 
  • Before the application deadline, make sure that you have uploaded all necessary attachments:


Research seminars 

Dr. Brennan W. Breed

“Aerosol Transmission: Theorizing Reception History during a Global Pandemic with Ecclesiastes 1:2”

with Brennan Breed (Columbia Theological Seminary)

Since the emergence of the airborne pathogen COVID-19, many non-specialists have had to learn the basics of epidemiology in order to navigate the ensuing pandemic. For scholars of authoritative texts, epidemiology offers new perspectives on concepts such as transmission, reproduction, communication, and translation. As a test case, I explore the reception history of Ecclesiastes 1:2 (“vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” or “all is vapor/breath”), tracing its various trajectories of transmission from its ancient context of production to the present day. 

“The Bible in Arabic”

with Miriam Hjälm (Stockholm School of Theology)

The complex and heterogeneous reception Image may contain: Woman, Face, Hair, Eyebrow, Chin.of the bible in Arabic is increasingly gaining attention by scholars in various fields. The numerous biblical references in the Qurʾān attest to its earliest stage and to the importance of biblical texts in the struggle to own divine revelation that took place among Jews, Christians, and Muslims at this time. When Arabic bible translations appear in physical form approximately two centuries later, they seem to serve a variety of functions in the Christian communities. They were used in liturgy, for studying the bible, and perhaps also for apologetic and missionary purposes. A number of them exhibit a remarkable interest in textual criticism. Although we have almost no paratextual information in these renditions, we may assume that the function of the translations effected the translation techniques used to compose them. During this lecture, we will look at such differences and try to understand what purpose the various translations might have served in these communities.

“Translating the Bible: Tradition, Authority and Reception”

with Morten Beckmann (University of Agder)Morten Beckmann

Translation is no neutral enterprise. In the last three decades, Translation Studies have focused on how translations are affected by the cultural context in which they are produced. This shift has led the attention away from assessing translations solely with regard to how «accurate» they render the source text to the multiple socio-cultural (contextual) factors that influence the choice of translation. No translation is made in a vacuum, and every translation is made for a reason.

This lecture will focus on how the Churches’ traditions and other variables affect how the Bible is translated. Bible translations can strengthen the authority of a religious tradition by reaffirming the institutionalized interpretation of a canonical text. At the same time, they can also challenge that interpretation in an effort to change the institution or found a new one (Venuti 2004). 

Nora S. Eggen

“Translation of the Qurʾān”

This lecture will be organized around the following topics:

  • Translation of the Qurʾān as a contested concept in historical and theological terms.
  • Translations of the Qurʾān as an empirical field.
  • Interdisciplinary and methodological challenges and possibilities in the study of translations of the Qurʾān.
  • Analytical issues like the diverse functions and roles of translation; cross-historical relations between text and reception; interactions between the local, regional and global; agency and authority.

“Translations into Medieval Norway and Iceland: Texts, Practices, and Contexts”

with Stefka Georgieva Eriksen (NIKU)Stefka Eriksen

Old Norse literature comprises of highly original indigenous prose and poetry, as well as translations from Latin, French, and German. In this lecture, I will focus on Old Norse translations, seen as linguistic, textual, material and cultural translatio from one context to another, a process which entails a dynamic interplay between separate, but related sub-cultures. The lecture will include:

  • An overview of Old Norse translations in the Middle Ages: texts, languages, background, translators, and cultural contexts
  • A historiography of how Old Norse translations have been studied in scholarship, including theoretical starting points and main research questions
  • New approaches in translation studies: cognitive theory and multimodal communication  

“Literary style and translation from a linguistic point of view”kjetil henjum portrait

with Kjetil Henjum (University of Bergen)

In my talk I will discuss and illustrate different types of equivalence with examples from German and Norwegian (and maybe English) prose fiction and show how differently problems “of the same type” are treated by translators and how this affects the potential of meaning conveyed by the texts.


“Gender and Feminism in Translation”Image of Iris Muñiz

with Iris Muñis, University of Oslo.

The interest on the relationship between a cultural, non-grammatical or merely biological understanding of gender and its impact on the practice and theory of translation has steadily grown in the last decades. Stemming from the pioneering theorisation on feminist translation by Canadian scholars during the 80-90s, the field, in tune with its mother feminist movement, has branched out to include broader gender and sexuality concerns that permeate 21st-Century society. Those three subfields (feminist, gender and sexuality studies) have been very productive in their interaction with translation theory, as shown by the growing numbers of academic research. During this session, we will go over the development and main ideas of the field, based on the mandatory and suggested reading materials. In addition, practical examples from my own recent research on two major feminist-claimed Norwegian literary works translated into both English and Spanish, will be presented on the light of the aforementioned theoretical perspectives. 

Discussion with students on how this theoretical perspective may affect their own research projects or possible future research within the language combination they work with will be encouraged on the later part of the session. To enliven discussion, students are asked to do some background reading and bring examples from the current political perspectives on gender issues in language in their own culture/language they are familiar with (Issues such as: Does your language have grammatical gender, if so is it based on biological associations? / Has there been any interest in developing a cultural connection to that linguistic gender in the last decade? / What is your experience/opinion with gender-neutral language uses? / Can this affect/Has this affected your work as a translation researcher or practitioner?)


"From Oral to Written Inscriptions: Reflections on Textual and Notated Translations as Processes of Interpretation in Interdisciplinary Communal Music and Dance Events of Practice"

With Ronald Kibirige, NTNU/MUKImage may contain: Person, Face, Hair, Facial expression, Forehead.

Translation as a process of interpretation has always been a key feature in interdisciplinary music and dance research. Although they are regarded as culturally established systems of knowing, especially within local communities, processes of musicking and dance-musicking as translation and interpretation processes, are still heavily underestimated. Their transfer from oral to written forms in the present music and dance research does not only present them as exclusively authoritative, but also adds another layer of complexity in as far as their re/presentation, translation, interpretation, and transmission are concerned. While the process of their “re/presentation” in the present is a process of their re-contextualisation, it is also a process of knowledge (re)production itself. Music and dance practitioners, and local community elders point to interdisciplinary processes of “doing” (musicking, dancing, and dance-musicking) as vital communal forms of knowledge, as well as interpretation processes of life events present in local artistic events of practice. The material aspects of these artistically interactive processes are key in their emic and etic sense-making processes. The knowledge they embed exists collaboratively in the material (written texts and traditional regalia) and non-material forms (lived or spoken) today (Kibirige, 2020). However, processes of their interpretation are still limited to rather trivialised performer-audience, as well as textual and noted representations in “formal” academia today. Notational translations in the field of music and dance, for instance, have been regarded with reservations because of their complex syntax, strict conceptualisation, and imagery of the material and non-material aspects of sound and movement at a conscious level (Also see Bakka & Karoblis 2010; Fügédi, 2003; Watt, 2014).

An interdisciplinary approach to understanding the material and non-material aspects initiates translation as a process of interpretation that goes beyond what is accessible through performative and formal written representation. To use Timothy Rice’s perspective, “understanding a world of meanings and experiences is not only a matter of observing and arranging words into taxonomies and contrasting pairs” (1997, p.88). It is also in the interactively live “doing” (dancing, musicking, and dance-musicking). The “doing” draws on an interdisciplinary understanding of, and active engagement with a music/dance practitioner’s actions and surroundings on a given event of practice (Also see Nannyonga-Tamusuza 2015; Karoblis, 2012; Bakka & Erling, 2017). Their reception in scholarly or community contexts today notwithstanding, could the genuine interpretation and understanding of this oral and written knowledge lie in an interdisciplinary as well as an interactive approach to their studies/research, enaction/performance, and transmission? Could it lie in its emic and etic interpretive translation of the audible sound and body movements? How does an interdisciplinary understanding sustain the authority interdisciplinary music and dance texts from studies/research and performative contexts command to both the immediate audiences and the wider community?

This lecture will reflect on the above aspects from an applied perspective. I will draw on processes of musicking and dance-musicking with in the Lamokowang music and dance-music tradition and events of practice of the Acholi peoples of Northern Uganda. Supplementary to dance and music notation examples, I will use my most recent research, and communal cultural and artistic engagements to explore the inescapable impact of interdisciplinary music/dance texts from studies and research on, and enaction/performance in a day-today life activities of the Acholi people of Northern Uganda and beyond.

PhD seminars

Seminar guide (.pdf) 

Central to all ATTR seminars and summer schools are the PhD fellows’ own presentations of papers based on their dissertation work, with prepared responses by other PhD fellows. 

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of ATTR, the focus of the discussions will be primarily on methodological matters and interdisciplinary insights.

The PhD seminars are important means to the ATTR learning goals:

  • Writing and presentation skills: The seminars aim not only at providing a setting for constructive discussions relating to thesis work, but also at preparing the candidates for life after their dissertations. ATTR thus aims to hone students’ presentation and writing skills, skills that may be useful for development of research projects for which funding can be sought from, e.g., ERC and RCN.
  • Methodology: The objective of ATTR is to create a venue where interpretive methodologies can be critically discussed, evaluated, and developed, so as to broaden the candidates’ perspectives and heighten the quality of their analyses.
  • Networking: In all its activities, the creation of an interdisciplinary network of young scholars in order to ensure the highest possible academic quality of PhD education is a central goal of ATTR.

Online writing retreat

This seminar is voluntary and will take place November 2- 6.

This online retreat will provide a virtual space for ATTR members to meet up, learn and discuss writing. This virtual space will be packed with useful activities like:

  • Lectures on writing skills
  • Brain warm-up exercises
  • Shut-up-and-write sessions
  • Small discussion group meetings

All activities will take place on Zoom.

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Mathew Stiller-Reeve has a PhD in Meteorology and has published several peer-reviewed articles on the monsoon as well as interdisciplinary and communication isImage may contain: Person, Hair, Face, Photograph, Facial expression.sues. He founded the SciSnack writing group community in 2012 and helped start several writing groups around the world. He and 12 international co-authors published their collaborative writing process in 2016, and since then it has been used by summer schools and communication initiatives around the world. Recently, he has become a Thematic Editor of the Geoscience Communication journal and has developed a peer-review process that he recently published on Nature.com. He has held writing seminars and courses over the past 4 years, both in Norway and internationally. Mathew puts emphasis on how we apply basic writing skills to our academic writing, and not least, how we can improve our writing together!


Published June 18, 2019 10:06 AM - Last modified June 28, 2022 2:02 PM