Keynote speaker Brian James Baer will not be taking part in the symposium.
‘‘From Sexual Dissidence to Sexual Dissonance: Queer Life Writing in Translation,’’ presented by Brian James Baer of Kent State University.
With the spread of gay liberation movements worldwide, biographies and autobiographies of queer individuals have found international audiences. While the translation of these queer life stories into multiple languages would ostensibly affirm the universality of a “gay” consciousness, a close examination of the translation and packaging of these lives reveals radically different conceptions of sexual subjectivity and political agency, and of the relationship between the two.
To illustrate this point, this talk examines the transnational circulation of the memoirs of the 19th-century French hermaphrodite Hercule Barbin, and of the 20th-century East German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. Special attention will be paid to the ways these queer lives are framed and re-framed in translation.