The Conference marks the final step of an European research project entitled “Economics e-translations into and from European Languages: an online platform (EE-T)”, an LLP/Erasmus multilateral project funded by the European Union.
The Conference jointly hosts a workshop of the Research Project of National Interest PRIN 2010/2011-Research Unit of the University of Pisa, “The Liberty of Moderns. Long Enlightenment and civilization (1750-1850): Commerce, Politics, Culture, Colonies”, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
The aim of this conference is to show up research on the international circulation of economic ideas through translations and adaptations of economic texts. The international circulation of economic ideas was fostered since the 18th century by a wealth of translations of economic texts into various European and non-European languages. These translations were performed both on individual initiative and as part of more systematic publishing initiatives such as specialised series of economic texts, digests, handbooks, etc. Sometimes they were part and parcel of a strategy of importation of economic ideas promoted by groups of intellectuals as elements of a strategy of modernisation of politics and society. Translations were adapted not only to different national social and economic contexts but also to political and institutional contexts. The history of translations of economic text is therefore an important element of the history of the institutionalisation and dissemination of economics. From a technical viewpoint, adaptation was performed through para-textual apparatuses: prefaces and introductions, comments, additions, omissions, footnotes, appendices, etc. Furthermore, the translation and adaptation of economic texts implied creative work of linguistic innovation, often performed through calques and loanwords. Linguistic studies analyse translations in general, and specifically economic translations, as instrument to communicate and impose the ideology of a dominant group, or to substitute the ideology of a group with that of another. In this perspective, the study of semantic and formal neologisms is very important because the diachronic perspective allows the study of words variation. Furthermore, the language of political economy has been one of the basic traits of the European public debate since the 18th century and an essential element of the construction of Europe and its identity. There is a need to build a sense of European belonging based on historical knowledge, and acknowledging how economic texts circulated, were transformed and adapted to different cultural contexts, how they were debated and applied, is essential to answer this need.