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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
November 27, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

TranslatingPain

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Laurier Inspires

Dr. Madelaine Hron’s first book shortlisted for prestigious prize

Wilfrid Laurier University Press book also on shortlist

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 4/10

Assistant English professor Dr. Madelaine Hron’s book, Translating Pain: Immigrant Suffering in Literature and Culture, has been shortlisted for a prestigious book prize. 

The Aid to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) shortlisted five books for the Raymond Klibansky Prize, which honours the best ASPP-supported book in the humanities. 

“It’s an honour to have my book recognized as one of the five best humanities books in Canada - especially since it's my first book,” says Hron. “Usually this prize is awarded to distinguished established scholars.” 

A book published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press joins Hron’s work on the shortlist: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century by Bruce Elder at Ryerson University.  

Hron developed the idea for Translating Pain when she was an undergraduate student studying minority literatures and volunteering with new immigrants to Montreal. 

“I found that both in real life and in fiction, immigrants were suffering – however there was no language to discuss it, especially in literature classes,” says Hron

As a graduate student, Hron said she spent a lot of time debating identity, multiculturalism, cross-cultural relations and resistance while avoiding what she considered to be the real issue – the hardships, suffering and traumatic experiences expressed in the texts. 

“So, several years later, I set out to theorize and analyze what I term the ‘pain of immigration,’ so that scholars may better understand and respond to it,” she says. 

Translating Pain examines how immigrant narratives shape people’s understanding of immigrants – from popular culture to public policy. In the book, Hron argues that discourses about immigrant identity politics largely revolve around immigrant suffering, or rather, its dismissal. 

Hron focuses on immigrant literature from the Muslim world (North Africa), the Caribbean (Haiti) and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic) to investigate how immigrant writers convey their pain through words. She deliberates which rhetoric of pain is most effective, or how immigrants might “translate” their suffering so that it can be heard and heeded in public discourse. 

The ASPP is part of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS). The Raymond Klibansky Prize, established in 1990, recognizes the best English-language and best French-language ASPP-supported books in the humanities. A cross-Canada jury selects the winners. 


Lori Chalmers Morrison, Public Affairs

 

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