Contemporary Foreign Languages Studies ›› 2022, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 46-54.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8921.2022.06.007

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Cultural Back-translation and Knowledge Reciprocity from the Perspective of Transknowletology: A Case Study on the Back-translation of “Amateur Painters” in James Cahill’s Works on the History of Chinese Painting

LI Juanjuan(), REN Wen()   

  • Online:2022-12-28 Published:2022-12-02


The number of foreign scholars’ writings on Chinese cultural phenomena has been increasing in recent years with the expansion of international academic exchanges. Some of these writings have been introduced to Chinese academic community through translation. Such phenomenon called “cultural back-translation” has gradually become an important prism for Chinese scholars to explore the features, patterns and values of translations of foreign-language writings on Chinese culture. Against this backdrop, this article takes as its research object the back-translation of a key terminology “amateur painters” in the works of James Cahill, an American scholar in the studies of history of Chinese painting. By sorting out the meanings of this term in both Chinese and western contexts, as well as the restoration and reconstruction in cultural back-translation, this article tries to elaborate on its possible impact on knowledge production in domestic art history studies from the perspective of Transknowletology.It also proposes a unique function of cultural back-translation called “knowledge reciprocity”, which could shed some light on understanding of the epistemic value of translation.

Key words: Transknowletology, cultural back-translation, knowledge reciprocity, James Cahill, history of Chinese painting

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