When a Text is a Song: Translating Kabir Oral Traditions in North India

A lecture by Linda Hess, Stanford University
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall

The towering figure of Kabir, arguably South Asia’s best known early-modern poet, is ambiguously located between Hindu and Muslim cultures. He retains a powerful presence in the religious and social life of India and Pakistan today — through oral and musical performance even more than by means of any written text. In this talk Linda Hess (Stanford University) will reflect on what it means to translate Kabir from Hindi/Urdu into English. But more than that, she will explore as sites of translation the shifts that occur across oral, written, performative, and media divides wherever Kabir is intoned.

Linda Hess is Senior Lecturer of Religious Studies at Stanford University.  For many years a celebrated translator of Kabir, she has worked closely with the filmmaker Shabnam Virmani to generate The Kabir Project

This lecture is sponsored by the Center for Translation Studies thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation, and by the Barnard College Department of Religion. Free and open to the public. No registration or reservations are necessary.

View the poster (.pdf, 82K).

Photo by Smriti Chanchani.

Photo depicts Shabnam Virmani, filmmaker, singer and media creator, of Bangalore, in concert with Prahlad Singh Tipanya, renowned folk singer and Kabir specialist from the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

(212) 851-5979

Apr 16 2012 - 7:00pm