No Translator = No World Literature

– Interviewing Cornelius Bischoff –

This talk will reflect on excerpts of an interview the presenter conducted with Cornelius Bischoff, the former German translator of one of Turkey’s most famous, influential, and frequently read authors Yaşar Kemal. Schwalm and Bischoff discuss what role and position the translator him/herself claims within a concept of a ‚history of contact‘ (Berührungsgeschichte) between Germany and Turkey. Looking behind the scenes at the work of the translator, several insights from the interview will be highlighted that will expand the current understanding of such a history, which has thus far been theorized and questioned primarily within works of fiction. Therefore this talk hopes to open a discussion on how and if literary translations and the translator might be integrated in the concept of a ‚history of contact‘ between Germany and Turkey.

The talk will be held in German.


İnsan Manzaraları – Menschenlandschaften – Human Landscapes

The Department of German Studies and The Center for Middle Eastern Studies Co-Sponsoring the screening of „Human Landscapes: Portraits of Six Turkish Authors“ by award-winning filmmaker Osman Okkan.

From Nâzım Hikmet, Yaşar Kemal, Aslı Erdoğan to Murathan Mungan, Orhan Pamuk, and Elif Şafak, the documentary goes beyond an exploration of each writers work, but contextualize it in Turkey’s political landscape and raising questions about political development, human and minority rights, religious freedom, and the freedom of speech. Osman Okkan makes it possible for the audience to grasp and get introduced to an intellectual discourse which goes on in Turkey but might not be known much outside the country. The documentary provides an image of Turkey full of nuances and is therefore particularly important in connection of a fruitful intercultural discourse not just between Turkey and Germany.