“Deviants Go Away to Berlin!”: Locating Contemporary Poland’s Queer Counterpublic, William Martin, University of Illinois at Chicago, February 2

The Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Chicago invites you to a lecture “Deviants Go Away to Berlin!”: Locating Contemporary Poland’s Queer Counterpublic on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM, 1650 University Hall, 601 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607.

Since Polands accession to the European Union in 2004, the figure of the homosexual has emerged in the countrys public sphere as the primary site of a quarrel over issues not only of civil rights, but of national identity and legitimacy vis-à-vis a mythicized national tradition and the idea of western liberal democracy. This dynamic has been addressed by Polish feminist and queer scholars (in particular Graff, Warkocki, and Uminska), who have both argued for the inextricability of
homophobic discourse from anxieties related to Polands inclusion in the EU and shown how it maps onto the prewar discourse of antisemitism. In this new nationalist dispensation, the homosexual, like the Jew, is regarded as violating the intactness of the Polish nation, even on the territorial level hence the injunction displayed on a counterprotestors placard at EuroPride in Warsaw last July (and circulated in the media): Deviants go away to Berlin! In fact Berlin as Western metropolis, gay mecca, and German capital plays an important symbolic role in this dynamic.

Bill Martin is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, and is completing a dissertation on film comedy and affect under state socialism in East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. His research interests range across postwar Polish and German literature, film, and public culture; early cinema; postwar lyric poetry; cultural intersections between Western and Eastern Europe
and the Near East; and translation studies. Publications include Slatan Dudow and the Dream of a Socialist Film Comedy (East European Politics and Society, forthcoming 2011), Mozhukhin and His Doubles (Collegium Sacilense Papers 2004), and literary translations from Polish and German, among them Michal Witkowskis novel Lovetown (Portobello 2010), Erich Kästners Emil and the Detectives (Overlook 2007), essays by Günter Grass in The Günter Grass Reader (Harcourt 2004), and Natasza Goerkes short story collection Farewells to Plasma (Twisted Spoon 2002). A former Fiction Editor of Chicago Review, he edited that
magazines New Polish Writing issue in 2000 and co-edited its New Writing in German issue in 2002. He is a recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship, a DAAD Research Scholarship, and an NEA Fellowship for Translation. He has taught at The University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Bard College; worked for two years as the Literature Curator for the Polish Cultural Institute in New York; and currently teaches in Bard Colleges Clemente Program in the Humanities. He lives in Brooklyn.