2022                “The Queerness of William James” (with Korey Garibaldi). Henry James Review. 43/1:41-65, p.57.

To change a habit can lead to a change in the desire one feels, especially when an anti-erotic view dominates social relations in the interest of “reproductive futurity.” [Lee] Edelman develops this term for the conservative force most opposed to queerness. Unreflective adherence to the norm of child-rearing is so widespread and normal that—despite the fulfillment it may bring—it cannot be easily placed in James’s category of the efficacy-bringing habit, like waking up at the same time every day; it falls rather in the category of the social habit, whose unintended consequences inflict invisible harm on the abnormal. The investment in children as replicated adult selves categorizes people by the abstraction of reproductive roles and constrains them to the mental habits of reproductive futurity. Those who construct their relationships around non-reproductive forms of eroticism break the habit of affirming future-oriented personhood (in its empty abstraction) in order to valorize more spontaneous ideals of selfhood in the here and now. Only a pluralistic society where people are in the habit of questioning habits will allow both to coexist without contempt—an ideal whose impossibility at present is palpable in the fury of Edelman’s polemics.

2021                “The Translation and Localization of the 2020 Pandemic Response: A Transatlantic Lexicon” andererseits: Yearbook of Transatlantic German Studies Vol. 9/10: 167-181 (2020/21), p.168.

Just as when an individual has been sick and fully recovers, it can be difficult to recall the anguish of illness (not knowing how long one’s symptoms will last and how much worse one’s symptoms will become), the first glimmers of hope of return to old freedoms are already eclipsing the entrenched, pandemic-induced despair.

2022                “‘Good translating is very hard work:’ Karl Popper, translation theorist in spite of himself.” Target. 34/1:3–36, p. 8.

[Karl] Popper felt that the English-speaking world best embodied the ideals of intellectual freedom that he advocated. […] Popper was not immune to the infatuation with English so prevalent among his exiled colleagues. His geographic, cultural, and linguistic translatio into the Anglophone world required him to master scholarly English and write more exactingly than he had previously. […] The emphasis on the hardship of translation work contrasts with the joy [Popper] associates with conjecturing. […] Taking on the twin hardships of testing ideas and of making them plain, Popper trusts no one but himself to apply the method of conjecture and refutation in crafting good translations. He is not willing to translate a whole book on his own, however, and therefore he applies the trial-and-error process to finding a suitable translator [for his essay collection Conjectures and Refutations (1963)].

2018                “Invisible Terminology, Visible Translations: The New Penguin Freud Translations and the Case against Standardized Terminology.” The Translator. 24/3: 233-248, p. 233-4.

Translators are usually obligated to provide consistent translations of all terminology they encounter in the source text. […] Terminological consistency is efficient, but it comes with costs. Nietzsche states the phenomenological objection poignantly: ‘To understand one another, it is not enough that one uses the same words; one also has to have the same words for the same species of inner experiences; in the end one has to have one’s experiences in common’ (Nietzsche 2010, 216). Uniform experiences would be required to establish unambiguous language, but such uniformity could only be achieved by suppressing individual curiosity and by ignoring how differences, like class, inevitably divide societies.

2017                “Differential translation: a proposed strategy for translating polysemous language in German philosophy.” Translation and Interpreting Studies. 12/1: 116-136, p.117-8.

Since polysemous German words can express unified concepts where the target language differentiates between multiple concepts, I propose translating such words differently by context throughout the text, and presenting them in parentheses after each translation. I call this strategy “differential translation” since it differentiates words’ dual (or various) concrete and abstract meanings. […] Differential translation works analogously to differential functions in calculus, which measure the rate of change within physical processes, such as the changing rate at which water dissolves as its temperature increases. The source text and the timespan of a physical process are the analogous objects; differential translation registers the changes in meaning of a word in the source text, just as a differential function measures the changes in rate of a physical process. Differential translation thus tests words for meaning var- iance by sentence context. Translating different occurrences of a word (untergehen) in a text differently displays a word’s differentiated meanings (“descend” when Zarathustra leaves his mountain hermitage, “meet [your] demise” when untergehen becomes his controversial moral advice).4 Translating a word differentially attempts to recreate a foreign culture’s experience of meaning. It expands the reader’s context much like glosses and annotations, the familiar academic strategies for achieving culturally mediating “thick translation” (Appiah 1993: 817). Differential translation is an especially promising way to convey linguistic difference because it integrates signs of difference into the reading experience.

2016                “Rhetoric of Reputation: Protagoras’ statement, Snoop Doggy Dogg’s flow.” Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 24/1: 129-149, p.138-9.

“Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg are fuckin’ actors, prankstas, studio gangstas, bustas, but this time you’re dealin’ with some real mother- fuckas.” Easy presents mere rhetoric as a failing of gangsta rap: what they say should matter less than what they do (kill, steal, intimidate, get laid, get money). But the relationship is not straightforward: Snoop would not rap about his own persona, if telling did not accomplish a desired effect. Gangsta rappers often present rap as a means to an end; their skill is not in rapping, but in earning money. (As Notorious B.I.G raps, “rap was secondary, money was necessary,” “Respect.”) Plato accuses the sophist Thrasymachus of just such an ends-justify-the-means attitude, which subordinates skill in one’s profession as secondary to skill in making money. This is how rhetorical mastery becomes suspect and conjures the profile of a mercenary.