COMP 257
Why do Pussies Riot and What is "Homosexual" Propaganda? Gender and Sexuality in Putin's Russia Fall 2019
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed GBST 213 / RUSS 213 / WGSS 214 / COMP 257

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Since Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, the media has highlighted events in Russia that at first glance resemble oddly sexualized jokes. At the same time that the Kremlin has reinstated authoritarian policy reminiscent of the Soviet Union, the Western press has chronicled Putin’s topless vacations in Siberia, protests by the feminist collectives Pussy Riot and Femen, a 2011 ban on women’s lacy underwear, federal legislation from 2013 prohibiting “homosexual” propaganda, and a 2017 court decision that outlawed a meme of Putin as a “gay clown.” This course examines the Putin regime’s ongoing attempts to police gender expression and private sexual behavior, as well as how Russian citizens’ performance of gender and sexuality has changed in the past twenty years. We will consider gender and sexuality as distinctive features of Putinism, which have contributed to a biopolitical turn in official policy and inspired resistance and protest among Russian feminists and queers.All readings will be in English, and all films with have English subtitles.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: none
Expected: 15
Class#: 1329
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class discussions, several response papers, two short papers (3-5 pages each), and a final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none
Materials/Lab Fee: books
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST 213 Division II RUSS 213 Division I WGSS 214 Division II COMP 257 Division I
DPE Notes: The course engages in cultural comparison, explores how power and privilege are allocated differently in post-Soviet Russia than in the West, and critically theorizes contemporary Russian culture and discourse.
Attributes: GBST Russian + Eurasian Studies Electives

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