Call for Papers, Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal, “Translation


Dear Colleagues,


We are pleased to announce the call for papers for Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal‘s second issue, “Translation.” Could you please share our call for papers with the graduate students and professors in your department? The CFP is copied below and attached as a PDF. You could also access the information at our websites and social media accounts which are posted below. Please note that the deadline for submissions is Monday, February 25, 2019. Thank you!


Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal


Call for Papers


This issue of Refract treats translation as a process by which a set of information is manipulated, altered, transferred, or rendered into another form. How do moments of transformation affect the outcome? What could be gained by focusing more on transformation rather than a fixed set of ideas that are absolute, objective, or universal? How does the intended audience shape the translation and the acts of the translators? And what is the relationship between the original and the translation? Moreover, what is lost, added, and gained in the act of translation?


Selected contributions will interrogate the mechanisms of translation, its various outcomes and its role in visual culture or other forms of creative, social, or political production and representation. These concerns inevitably lead us to think about power. What does the translator add or leave out to make language, ideas, and worldviews more accessible? Accessible to whom? And for what purposes? Refract seeks submissions that examine the power dynamics that undergird such decisions. Unequal distributions of power require that we delve further into what ‘translation’ can implicate, what it can or cannot do, what it promises or retracts. Can we still say today that we are able to ‘translate’ across cultural, historical, geographical, and epistemological divides?


Refract invites new approaches to visual, sensorial, and material cultures from diverse histories and geographies. Contributions from graduate students, artists, faculty, and independent scholars across the humanities, including visual studies, art history, translation studies, anthropology, literature, and history are welcome. Although Refract primarily publishes in English, we invite submissions in other languages and we encourage submissions that are themselves translations. In addition, we encourage alternative media submissions and collaborations that address the theme. See below for submission guidelines.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:


  • Translations of primary texts; (mis)interpretations; captions, subtitles, and dubbing
  • Visualizations of translation; materiality and the senses; objects, images, and installations
  • Data visualizations; blueprints, charts, graphs, infographics, maps
  • Algorithmic translations: Google translate, quantification and automation of language
  • Museum labels and didactics, object collections, curation
  • Storytelling, oral histories, fiction, myths, and narratives
  • Translation of archives; revisionist histories, impermanent or temporal translation
  • Translating from one bodily sensation to another; body language, gestures, performance, genders and sexualities
  • Translating across disciplines; pedagogy, institutional critique
  • Translating across/between different ontologies and epistemologies
  • Disability and issues of accessibility


Submission Guidelines

Please send full-length submissions to by Monday, February 25, 2019 with the subject heading “Refract Journal Submission.” Please note, only one submission per person will be considered.

  • Papers should range from 6,000-10,000 words in length.
  • Written submissions should follow Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition guidelines for Humanities.
  • Submissions will be evaluated on relevance to themes, depth of research, completeness of work, and in accordance with Refract’s engagement with visual studies.
  • We reserve the right to edit submissions selected for publication. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • For submissions in languages other than English, please also include a translation of the piece into English for review purposes.


Reviews and Interviews

Refract seeks reviews as another avenue for critical engagement that grapple with the topics and questions raised above.

  • Reviews on books, exhibitions, and films should not exceed 1,000 words in length.
  • Written submissions should follow Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition guidelines for Humanities.


Alternative Media

Refract encourages submissions in alternative media that address the themes described above.

  • Alternative media includes but is not limited to painting, photography, drawing, film, collaborative reviews, and digital projects.
  • Submissions should be accompanied by an artist statement no longer than 2 pages.
  • We encourage contributors to contact Refract before the submission deadline for customized instructions.
  • JPEG, PDF, and MP4 are preferred formats.


Inquiries should be sent to


For more information, please visit

To view previous issues, please visit






We look forward to receiving your submissions.


Thank you,

The Refract editorial board


Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal

“Translation” CFP due Feburary 25, 2019

Volume One | Issue One | “Refraction”