Volume 4: Foreword

Welcome to the 2008-2009 issue of TRANSIT. Our final round of articles for the year is now online. It includes an essay by videographer and theorist Ursula Biemann about her work, as well as a video of her recent visit to Berkeley. In addition, this round features a new translation by Roger Hillman of Peter Weiss’ essay “My Place,” the author’s reflection on his visit to Auschwitz, a stark assessment of place and memory. We have added an interview with Roger de Weck, Iso Camartin, and Hugo Loetscher to the feature “Multicultural Identity in Europe: The Swiss Model,” which was published in our second round of publication this year. Finally, we have posted two new book reviews: Utenzi, War Poems, and the German Conquest of East Africa: Swahili Poetry as Historical Source, by José Arturo Saavedra Casco, reviewed by Bryan Aja; and Mapping Channels between Ganges and Rhein: German-Indian Cross-Cultural Relations, Jörg Esleben, Christina Kraenzle and Sukanya Kulkarni, eds., reviewed by Ashwin Manthripragada.

Looking back over the year, our 2008-2009 issue opens with two selections from Feridun Zaimoğlu’s Koppstoff, translated by Kristin Dickinson, Robin Ellis, and Priscilla D. Layne, the recipients of the 2008 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation. The three translators collaborated as well on an article addressing issues raised by the translation process. The first round of publication also includes an interview with Rosi Braidotti by Pascale LaFountain that navigates topics ranging from Braidotti’s recent book Transpositions to larger questions regarding contemporary nomadism and the role of Deleuzian philosophy in feminism. In addition, the multimedia section of our website features a video of Michel Abdollahi and Sulaiman Masomi, two young German slam poets, from their performance at Berkeley.

Our second publication round centers around papers by noted Swiss scholars and authors Roger de Weck, Iso Camartin, and Hugo Loetscher that were originally presented at UC Berkeley as part of the series “Multicultural Identity in Europe: The Swiss Model.” The purpose of this project is to look behind the clichés that depict Switzerland as a complacent island of wellness and stability in a chaotic world, and to critically reflect on the Swiss model of multicultural and multilingual identity, neutrality and direct democracy.

Roger de Weck, in “Switzerland and its past: An uncomfortable relationship,” addresses Switzerland’s asylum policies during the Second World War, as well as its relations with Apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. Iso Camartin’s “Advertising a Strange Case” (published here in German) considers multilingualism and cultural diversity in Switzerland, along with questions of political and cultural loyalty and cultural priorities in a globalized world. Finally, Hugo Loetscher’s “Plea for a Mobile Identity” focuses on the conception of identity from both a Swiss and an international perspective, debating the conflict between personal, national and global identity. A video of Loetscher’s lecture is also available on our website. Along with the lectures, this issue also features new English translations of texts by all three featured authors. We hope that you will enjoy the chance to read these authors’ works as well as their perspectives on Swiss identity and multiculturalism.

In addition to this feature on Switzerland, our second round of publication also includes Nicholas Baer’s paper “Points of Entanglement: The Overdetermination of German Space and Identity in Lola + Bilidikid and Walk on Water,” which considers how films have engaged with the politics of German space and identity in the context of the country’s National Socialist past – and, more specifically, in the context of relations between and among Germans, Jews, and Turks. Finally, this round includes Steve Choe’s review of The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality, by Wolfram Wette.

TRANSIT continues to accept submissions relating to the themes of travel, migration, and multiculturalism in the German-speaking world. Click here for submission guidelines. TRANSIT is a refereed internet journal of German Studies indexed in the MLA International Bibliography. TRANSIT seeks to push boundaries both of traditional scholarship and of print publication. The journal’s online format enables authors to integrate multimedia content (images, film clips, spoken text, and music) into their work. If you have questions, please contact us at transitjournal@berkeley.edu.


KURT BEALS, Managing Editor
PAUL DOBRYDEN and ROBIN ELLIS, Assistant Co-Editors