Beauvoir Conference


Second Sex translations 

Le Deuxième Sexe Seventy Years On: Reading Beauvoir around the World

Emory University Conference Center

Oak Ampitheater

Atlanta, GA

25-26 October 2019

Register Here

There is no fee for this conference, but we require all attendees to register to ensure we have adequate
refreshments and seating. Please registe to give us ample time to plan accommodations.

Confirmed Keynote Speaker:
Professor Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University)
Julia C. Bullock, Emory University
Pauline Henry-Tierney, Newcastle University


Emory Conference Center Subvention Fund 

Hightower Fund

Emory College Departments of:

                 Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures (REALC)

         Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)        


French and Italian

Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESAS)

                     Program in East Asian Studies (EAS)                 


Conference Information

Seventy years following its publication in France, Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe (1949) remains a fundamental source of philosophical feminist knowledge, providing concrete evidence of women’s societal oppression and delineating the constructed nature of gender through an existential, phenomenological lens. Its translation into more than forty languages to date has contributed to shaping knowledge in discourses on gender and sexuality, and the centrality of Beauvoir’s text is testament to its continued relevancy for feminist thought and activism in a multitude of global contexts. To date, important scholarship on the translation of this cornerstone text into specific locales exists, yet in isolated pockets. While the controversy surrounding both of the translations into English has been well-documented (Simons 1983; Moi 2010), the text’s translation trajectories into other languages remains underexplored. Furthermore, specific synergies between translations have yet to be mapped transnationally.  The aim of this conference will be to bring together international scholars working at the intersections of Beauvoirian Studies and Translation Studies in order to trace holistically the dissemination of Beauvoirian thought on a global scale. The conference will aim to elicit papers which address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • What were/are the various socio-cultural or political circumstances surrounding the translation of Le Deuxième Sexe into a specific locale?
  • What role has censorship (political, social or religious) played in the translation of Le Deuxième Sexe?
  • What challenges does the translation of philosophy pose in relation to Le Deuxième Sexe?
  • How have translators dealt with intertextuality when translating Le Deuxième Sexe?
  • How have the paratextual features of Le Deuxième Sexe been translated into a specific locale?
  • How are key terms related to gender and sexuality in Le Deuxième Sexe translated if there is no corollary linguistic/ conceptual cognate in the target language?
  • In what ways has Le Deuxième Sexe been reframed via translation for specific ideological purposes in various target cultures?
  • In what ways has Beauvoir been re-authored via translation?
  • How have more contemporary translations of Le Deuxième Sexe been shaped by changes in philosophical terminology and concepts in intervening decades?
  • What impact does translation bear on the transgenerational reception of Beauvoir?
  • Why has Le Deuxième Sexe been retranslated in specific locales?
  • In cases where a relay language was used to produce a translation of Le Deuxième Sexe, why was this so and what was the impact?
  • In what formats is Le Deuxième Sexe being translated for the digital age and why?

Day Two of the conference will assume a workshop format in the afternoon. The aim of this workshop will be to explore the ways in which certain key terms in Le Deuxième Sexe travel transnationally and translingually via translation and to think through the resulting implications these translation decisions may have for Beauvoirian thought in global contexts. Participants will be asked, in advance, to examine four key terms (outlined below) in order to facilitate group discussions related to the translation trajectories of these key terms into a multitude of global contexts.

  • situation
  • devenir
  • femme
  • sexe

During the workshop please be ready to explain to fellow participants how the key terms below have been translated into your language. What are the particular linguistic/ conceptual challenges of translating these terms? Do the translation choices made alter Beauvoir’s notions in any way?

 PLEASE NOTE: Workshop space is limited. Please indicate your interest in participating on the registration form. The organizers will contact you two weeks prior to the conference to let you know whether we will be able to accommodate your request to participate.

Conference Schedule


 *Indicates presentation via Skype

8:30-9:15         Registration, breakfast

9:15-9:30         Welcome remarks

9:30-11:30      Panel 1: Textual and Paratextual Strategies, Chair: Yusuf Ünal

  • *Zhongli Yu, “The 1980s’ Chinese Translations of The Second Sex and the Situation of Chinese Women in the 1980s’ China”
  • Julia Bullock, “Reclaiming Beauvoir: The Feminist (Re)Translation of Daini no sei
  • Areej Ahmed, “The Feminist strategies of Translation: Simone de Beauvoir’s الجنس الآخر

11:30-13:00    Lunch provided by conference center

13:00-14:30    Panel 2: Multiple Translations and Retranslations, Chair: Brittany Landorf

14:30 - 15:00   Coffee break

15:00 - 16:30    Panel 3: Cultural Receptioin, Cultural Resistance, Chair: Donohon Abdugafurova

18:00    Informal dinner at nearby restaurant




8:00 - 8:45      Breakfast

 8:45-9:00      Welcome Remarks

9:00 - 10:00    Keynote address: Penelope Deutscher, "'Untranslatability' and Le deuxième sexe”

10:00 - 10:30  Coffee break

10:30 - 12:30  Panel 4: Philosophical Concepts in Translation, Chair: Susan Bredlau

  • Pauline Henry-Tierney, “Translating in ‘Bad Faith’? Articulations of Beauvoir’s ‘Mauvaise Foi’ in English”
  • Jennifer McWeeny, “The (Mis)translation of Se faire: Evacuating Phenomenology and Agency from The Second Sex
  • Ellie Anderson, “Rhythmic Reciprocity in Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Love”

12:30 - 13:30    Lunch provided by conference center

13:30 - 15:30    Workshop

Venue and Accomodations

All conference events will take place at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, GA, USA, which is conveniently located on the Emory University campus:


1615 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA
Phone: (+1) 404-712-6000 


Please see the hotel website for access and parking information:

Attendees requiring hotel accommodations must reserve by October 1 to ensure a room at the reduced conference rate of $155/night. Please use the following link to reserve your accommodations:  


If you are flying into Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the easiest way to reach the hotel is by taxi or shuttle service from the airport. Rental car services are also available at Hartsfield-Jackson.