Translating Across Registers: Pragmatist Inquiry in Engaged Scholarship

Jerry Shannon, Abigail Borron, Hilda E. Kurtz, Alexis Weaver, Sarah Otto-Wang, Vista Gilliam


Inquiry is a central concept within pragmatism, defined generally as the process of collectively defining problematic aspects of current social practices and developing better alternatives. Translation—defined broadly as the labor of negotiating, transforming, and synthesizing diverse experiences—is a critical but understudied component of pragmatist inquiry. In this article, we articulate how translation occurred across multiple registers in a collaborative community-engaged research project involving university researchers and a regional food bank, focusing on translation as logistical, affective, and positional labor. Our analysis demonstrates how reflexive attention to various forms of translation across the research process can enrich socially engaged research.

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