Layers of Untold Stories: Sharon Dodua Otoo in Conversation with Translator Jon Cho-Polizzi and Deniz Göktürk

Mar 05, 2021

Panel Discussion (Virtual) | 3pm - 4:30pm ET | Featured Speaker: Sharon Dodua Otoo; Discussants: Jon Cho-Polizzi and Deniz Göktürk (University of California, Berkeley)

Sponsorsed by the Institute of European Studies, Department of German, Center for German and European Studies (all at UC Berkeley), German Consulate General San Francisco, Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington, German Program, University of California, Davis

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This event is the first in a series of workshop conversations with authors, “Archives of Migration: The Power of Fiction in Times of Fake News” organized by Deniz Göktürk (UC Berkeley, Department of German, Multicultural Germany Project and Transit Journal) and Elisabeth Krimmer (UC Davis, German Department, Migration and Aesthetics Project). The series engages in conversation with contemporary writers who bring diverse perspectives to questions of societal polarization and the power of poetic imagination. Their work in German resonates with readers around the globe. Multilingual archives of migration, both virtual and physical, feed into their processes of writing and translation. Conversations will focus on the possibilities of crafting and reading border-crossing stories that are not contained in national history books. As nation-states around the globe are reinforcing their borders, how do writers and readers of fiction interface with governmental bureaucracy and violence? What can be the role of literature in our era of infotainment where fake news spreads like wildfire in the filter bubbles of social media? Has post-modern enlightenment skepticism laid the ground for the current suspension of reason in favor of belief? Can speculative fiction open up new, more hopeful horizons? Conversations in this series will address such questions based on readings.

Author and activist Sharon Dodua Otoo was born in London in 1972. She first moved to Germany in 1992. Otoo is engaged with the Initiative of Black People in Germany and Phoenix e.V. and edits the English-language literary series “Witnessed” with Edition Assemblage. After publishing her first two Berlin-based novellas in English, she began publishing in German, winning the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2016 with her short story Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin [Herr Gröttrup Sits Down]. Her first novel Adas Raum [Ada’s Realm], which fleshes out a character from that story, will be published by S. Fischer Verlag in February 2021.

Jon Cho-Polizzi is an educator and freelance literary translator. With a background in Literature, History, and Translation Studies, he received his PhD in German and Medieval Studies from UC Berkeley in 2020. 

Deniz Göktürk is Professor of German at the University of California, Berkeley 

Archives of Migration Series


The “Archives of Migration” series is supported by the German Consulate in San Francisco and is co-sponsored by the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington and the Institute of European Studies at UC Berkeley. 

The series has several events in the spring 2021 and will continue in fall 2021.

March 5

Layers of Untold Stories: Sharon Dodua Otoo in Conversation with Translator Jon Cho-Polizzi and Deniz Göktürk

April 2

Unreadable Archives: Zafer Şenocak in conversation with Deniz Göktürk and Kristin Dickenson

April 16

The Language of Dreams: Yoko Tawada in conversation with Elisabeth Krimmer and Jonas Teupert