OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives, Medieval Studies Program, Literature Program, Human Rights Project, Hannah Arendt Center, French Studies Program, and Bard Translation and Translatability Initiative present:
Medieval Fixers: History, Literature, Politics
Zrinka Stahuljak, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Comparative Literature, UCLA
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Olin, Room 204
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Ever since the western involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and then Syria, the term 'fixer' became commonplace. It designates almost exclusively men who perform a range of services for foreign journalists and armies. Acting as interpreters, local informants, guides, drivers, mediators, brokers, these men are intermediaries, enablers who possess multiple skills and bodies of knowledge. Fixers existed already in the Middle Ages, in situations of multilingual encounter, such as crusades, pilgrimages, proselytization, trade, translation. Fixers are the invisible men and women of history, then as now. My new book, Fixers in the Middle Ages: History and Literature Connected (Seuil, 2021), aims to restore their presence in a productive conversation between the fixers of the past and of the present, and this paper will try to address ways in which looking at history, literature and politics through the lens of fixers, changes our relationship to the world and how we structure it.