RUSS 401
Senior Seminar: Queer Russia Fall 2021
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

This seminar explores queerness as both a cultural concept and social reality in Russia and the Soviet Union from the nineteenth century to the present. We will begin with the history of LBGTQ+ Russians, as well as an overview of texts produced by queer writers, in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. We will then investigate queerness in post-Soviet Russia, where non-normative sexuality has become a hotly contested political concept over the past three decades. In addition to reading texts and viewing films by about and by LGBTQ+ Russians, we will examine the genesis, implementation, and impact of the 2013 ban on “homosexual propaganda,” which has placed homophobia at the center of national identity in the Russian Federation. We will also read theoretical works to help us understand not only the unique formations and expressions of queerness in Russia, but also how local Russian queerness plays out on the global stage.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 10
Expected: 5
Class#: 1628
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: completion of all reading and viewing assignments, preparation for and active participation in class discussions, two 4-5 page papers, and a final 20-minute presentation based on students' independent research
Prerequisites: RUSS 252 or the permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: those majoring in Russian or pursuing a Certificate in Russian
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This seminar explores how gender and sexuality have been conceptualized and experienced in Russia with a particular emphasis on how non-normative gender and sexuality have become tools in the struggle for social and political power in post-Soviet Russia. Our exploration of queerness in Russia over the past two centuries will help students to develop critical skills for assessing how gender and sexuality are currently conceptualized in the United States.

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