Visualizing Translation: Belonging Beyond Citizenship in Contemporary Germany

Image of promotional flyer for Visualizing Translation event

In this talk, Dickinson will engage with different visual art forms, including photography, public art installations and textiles, to ask how minority artists in Germany render translation visible. Rather than refer back to a specific "source" text or image, she shows how these art forms enact processes of translation that upend deep-seated assumptions about the authenticity and “originality” of German cultural norms correlated with whiteness, which are rooted in the historic precedent of citizenship as a blood right.

By visualizing translation, she argues, these art forms contend with the continued racialization of minorities in the 21st century, even after significant reforms to German citizenship law in 2000 and 2005. Foregrounding their own non-universality, they call the universality of an “unmarked” (white, Christian, central European) form of Germanness into question, thereby presenting new modes of belonging that transcend formal citizenship.

Kristin Dickinson is assistant professor of German studies and comparative literature at the University of Michigan, and affiliate faculty with the University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Dickinson’s book DisOrientations: German Turkish Cultural Contact in Translation (1811-1946), appeared with Penn State University Press in May 2021. Focusing on the three main figures, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schrader and Sabahattin Ali, it shows how German and (Ottoman) Turkish histories of translation were inextricably linked across a nearly 150-year time frame. Through a model of translational orientation, Dickinson shows how these three figures as authors, journalists and literary translators were both implicated in and transcended the intersecting histories of German scholarly orientalism and (Ottoman) Turkish westernizing reforms.

Download printable flyer: PDF icon visualizing_translation_belonging_beyond_citizenship_in_contemporary_germany.pdf

This event is sponsored by the School of International Letters and Cultures, the Department of English and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

Please note that all attendees and guests must comply with university guidelines and wear face coverings while indoors.

Visit ASU Community of Care guidelines for more information at
Dan Gilfillan
Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, 4-5:30 p.m.
Wrigley Hall (800 Cady Mall) room 202
Tempe campus
Free of charge and open to the public

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