Isaiah Back-Gaal will talk about his experience as a queer, Jewish American studying abroad in Vienna. While at a Voguing ball, someone described Austria to him as "the Bible Belt of Europe." Reflecting on this characterization, Isaiah will explore Vienna as a city of contradictions: home to a young, queer subculture in a deeply traditional, catholic country. His talk will focus on the importance of centering discussions of travel and study abroad on our particular identities, precisely as we navigate an unfamiliar language and landscape. What are the challenges, as well as the possibilities, of having to translate our multifaceted lives, experiences, and identities?
Isaiah is a 2019 alumnus of the University of Washington where he majored in CHID and German. In 2018 Isaiah took part in the Spring in Vienna study abroad program, which inspired him to pursue research on the topics of gender and sexuality in turn of the century Vienna. He was awarded a prestigious Mary Gates Research Scholarship and his senior thesis project, Gender at the End of the World: Crises of Masculinity in Fin-de-siècle Vienna, examined gender, race and queer politics in Austrian literature and art. Isaiah was a 2019 Dean’s Medalist Nominee.
When: Friday, Oct 25, 2019, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Denny Hall 359