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habilitation - a cartography of translation

In 1818, after some fifteen years of preparatory work, the "History of the Russian State" (hereafter "History") by Nikolai Karamzin (1766-1826) was published in St. Petersburg. The author was an important Russian writer, editor of influential periodicals and reformer of the standard Russian language. His "History," conceived and implemented in close consultation with the tsarist house and a number of high-ranking representatives of the conservative-minded nobility, was intended to establish an identity encompassing all national, ethnic, and social groups of the tsarist empire. In addition, the intention was to influence the discourse about the tsarist empire as a civically and culturally backward country, which was taking place primarily in Western Europe.

In the context of the present work, the conception, production, and further dissemination of the "History" were reconstructed from a translational point of view. What conceptions and notions of translation can be found in the period under study? In what ways was translation used, where did it take place? Translation in this respect was understood in a broader sense and included intermodal transfer in addition to translation between linguistically divergent and culturally or socially mediated source and target texts.

The "History" is an appropriate starting point to pursue the question of how an imperial identity had to be formulated and could be disseminated in a multilingual and pluriethnic society. Multilingualism in this case characterizes the existence and use of different varieties within a society. This approach is extended by a spatio-critical perspective, which has been established for some time in the humanities, social and cultural sciences. Building on these considerations, we will ask about the physical-spatial location of translation. Where does translation take place? In which places are translators like translations located, which paths do they take and where do they cross?

For this purpose, more than 50 thematic maps, graphic representations and data visualizations were created especially for the work.

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