Viennese Inqueeries: Queer Politics in Translation

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Isaiah Back-Gaal

As a means of student outreach and facilitating discussion on supporting diversity in study abroad programs, the Department of Germanics has been inviting former students to present their perspectives on the Spring in Vienna program.  On October 25th, University of Washington alumnus Isaiah Back-Gaal spoke about his experience as a queer, Jewish American studying abroad in Vienna.  In his talk he focused on the pleasures and challenges of living in a different country and ways in which one’s identity must be navigated and translated in unfamiliar places.  Inspired by his explorations of literature and art while living in Vienna, Isaiah interwove anecdotes and impressions from his time abroad with an analysis of the construction of gender in his senior thesis, Gender at the End of the World: Crises of Masculinity in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna.  This series of student talks has stimulated reflective engagement with the study abroad experience from former and future participants.