Rafael Balling

Project Description

portrait of Jonathan Rafael-Balling smiling in striped shirt and bomber jacket with turquoise wall in background

Assistant Professor, German Studies

Ph.D. Stanford University (2023)

Contact Information:
Email: balling@uw.edu
More Information:

Faculty Profile

In my research and teaching, I focus on German Jewish and Yiddish literature, LGBTIQ+ narratives and (auto)biographical writing.

My first book project, “A Story Of Their Own”, considers the role of storytelling in 20th-century Jewish trans narratives as a means to counter the dominant psychopathological framework of Western discourse on gender variance.

Through the works of Else Lasker-Schüler, N.O. Body, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, I show that authors turn to the classic narrative forms of Homeric epic, Yiddish folklore, and Biblical tales to narrate gender diversity through social encounters rather than a medical-scientific response, creating the possibility of self understanding on a foundation of collaborative worldmaking.