COMPLIT 241 - Topics in Comparative Literature
Section: 001 Translating "Transgender": Imperfect Translations
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Other Course Info:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

To translate is to enter into the social/cultural field of power relationships and to partake in the ideological production of knowledge. In this class, we will examine what it means to translate and navigate this field of ideology by focusing on how transgender communities and subjectivities from the Global North/South have been narrated/translated by academics, anthropologists, ethnographers, scientists, documentarists, film makers, (auto)biographers, novelists, and artists. As A. Finn Enke argues, transgender is an explicitly imperfect translation that carries institutional and imperial discipline. By translating an infinite multiplicity and polyvocality into a disciplinary identity category, transgender traffics in power networks that allocate forms of recognition and resources according to colonial and imperial logics. Sandy Stone echoes the same sentiment when she critiques the diagnostic category of transsexuality: “the berdache and the stripper, the tweedy housewife and the mujerado, the mah’u and the rock star, are [according to this diagnostic category] still the same story after all, if only we try hard enough”.

Informed by these critical discourses, we will analyze the above-mentioned multi-media materials and think through pivotal issues such as “the problematization of transgender identity through translation process and praxis”, “the ethics of translating transgender subjects from a subaltern/peripheral culture”, and “the multivalent ways in which the question of untranslatability figures in transgender theory and discourses”.

Course Requirements:

Evaluation will be based on regular attendance and active participation in class discussions, weekly responses, one class presentation, one mid-term paper (5 pages), and one final paper (10 pages).

COMPLIT 241 - Topics in Comparative Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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