CMRS-CEGS Director, Zrinka Stahuljak publishes Fixers: Agency, Translation, and the Early Global History of Literature

Published: February 27, 2024

The UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies is pleased to announce the publication of Professor Zrinka Stahuljak’s new book: Fixers: Agency, Translation, and the Early Global History of Literature (University of Chicago, 2024).

In this book, Zrinka Stahuljak challenges scholars in both medieval and translation studies to rethink how ideas and texts circulated in the medieval world. Whereas many view translators as mere conduits of authorial intention, Stahuljak proposes a new perspective rooted in a term from journalism: the fixer. By definition, fixers are agents who act as interpreters, local informants, guides, brokers, personal assistants, and more. Bilingual communication is a history of these multifunctional intermediaries who enable, facilitate, and mediate through spaces of unintelligibility and, as a consequence, enable communication and exchange. But they are not neutral, silent, or faithful, rather they embody a ternary position. Fixers break up our modern binary and dialectical modes of analyses and ways of knowing. In that sense, the book is paradigm-shifting for many of our Western-based epistemologies that are anchored in dialectical oppositions and dualisms (e.g. body-mind; good-evil; male-female; nature-culture, etc.). The book is also about circulation, reciprocity, gift-exchange, and commensuration that go beyond the standard anthropological study of gift and indebtedness.

Fixers offers nothing less than a new history of literature, art, translation, and social exchange from the perspective not of the author or state but of the fixer.

Among its endorsements, the book has been acclaimed as “paradigm-shifting” by the way in which Stahuljak “boldly rewrites the terms of literary history” (Shirin Khanmohamadi, San Francisco State University). Carol Symes (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) writes: “By centering the agency and experiences of fixers, she not only opens up new interpretive possibilities for seemingly familiar texts but develops a powerful analytic lens through which to study the multifaceted meanings and contingencies of translation in a medieval world released from the demands of modern agendas.”

Read more about Fixers and purchase here

Professor Zrinka Stahuljak at the 2024 American Historical Association meeting in San Francisco.

In addition to Professor of Comparative Literature and French,  Zrinka Stahuljak, is also the Director of UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies, and Co-Director of UCLA Experimental Critical Theory Program.

Among her recent books are Les Fixeurs au Moyen Âge: Histoire et littérature connectées (2021; Croatian trans. 2023), Médiéval contemporain: Pour une littérature connectée (2020), and Pornographic Archaeology: Medicine, Medievalism, and the Invention of the French Nation (2013; French trans. 2018).