Translation and Sexual Safety

In this lecture, Emily Apter, Silver Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University, considers the untranslatability of sexual safety as both concept and legislated practice. Prompted by the questions of how American law has conflated discrimination and sexual assault, and how do we define the sexual contract in the social compact without a universal denomination of sexual norms, Apter looks at the 2015-16 case of New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany involving attacks on women by groups of men stigmatised as migrants. In this context, Apter argues, untranslatability applies not only to culture difference, gender violence, harm, and insecurity, but to the deeper problem of trying to conjugate ‘sex’ and ‘safety’ in the first place.


Emily Apter
‘Translation and Sexual Safety’
American Academy in Berlin
Lecture, 29 April 2019