Medieval Fixers: History, Politics, Literature
Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 16.30
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 posess multiple skillls 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. This talk aims to restore their presence in a productive conversation between the fixers of the past and of the present. To look at history, literature and politics through the lens of fixers changes our relationship to the world and how we structure it.
Zrinka Stahuljak is Director of the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies (CMRS-CEGS) and Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her most recent books are Les Fixeurs au Moyen Âge: Histoire et littérature connectées (Seuil 2021) and a forthcoming book Fixers: Agency, Translation, and Literature in the Middle Ages (UP Chicago).
This talk is also part of the The Fifth Icelandic History Congress.
The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend