Unreadable Archives: Zafer Şenocak in Conversation with Deniz Göktürk, Kristin Dickinson, and Participants of the Seminar on “Archival Resistance”

Reading – Literary | April 2 | 12-1:30 p.m. |  Zoom

 Zafer Şenocak

 Kristin DickinsonDeniz Göktürk, University of California, Berkeley

 Institute of European StudiesDepartment of GermanCenter for German and European StudiesGerman Consulate General San FranciscoPacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute WashingtonGerman Program, University of California, Davis

This event is the second 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 postmodern 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 address such questions based on readings.

Zafer Şenocak will be reading passages from published works and from his unpublished novel in progress Felslicht. The conversation will be in English, German and Turkish.

Zafer Şenocak, born in Ankara/Turkey, is based in Berlin. He has been publishing poems and prose in German since 1979. He has held appointments as a writer in residence at various universities in France, Canada, and the United States. His works have been translated into many languages. A selection of his essays was published in English translation by Leslie A. Adelson as Atlas of a Tropical Germany (2000). Fragmentary histories and unreadable archives are recurring themes in his writings. His novel Gefährliche Verwandtschaft (1998) was translated into English by Tom Cheesman as Perilous Kinship (2009). His novel Alman Terbiyesi (2007) was written in Turkish and translated into German by Helga Dağyeli-Bohne as Deutsche Schule (2012). His recent books are In deinen Worten: Mutmaßungen über den Glauben meines Vaters (2016) und Das Fremde, das in jedem wohnt: Wie Unterschiede unsere Gesellschaft zusammenhalten (2018). He also continued to publish volumes of poetry in German and Turkish: Der Gedanke des Freundes (2018) and Kıyı ve Kabuklar (2018). Şenocak is a regular commentator on culture and politics in newspapers such as Die Weltdie tageszeitung, and Der Tagesspiegel.

Kristin Dickinson is Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research and teaching focus on questions of migration, translation, world literature, and multilingualism. Her book Disorientations: German-Turkish Cultural Contact in Translation (1811-1946) is forthcoming in May 2021 with Penn State University Press.

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

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. 

A recording of the previous conversation with Sharon Dodua Otoo is available online

The series has one more event this spring and will be continued in fall 2021. Join us on April 16 for “The Language of Dreams: Yoko Tawada in Conversation with Elisabeth Krimmer and Jonas Teupert.”


 Register online

 heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558

 Heike Friedman,  heike.friedman@berkeley.edu,  510-643-4558