Russian Political Homophobia — refusing queerness, claiming whiteness
The Department of Gender Studies
2017-2018 Public Lecture Series
While the repressive and draconian laws recently passed in Russia have received considerable attention, political homophobia in Russia has yet to be analyzed as a heteropatriarchal and racial state project. In sketching the contours of this confluence, I suggest that political homophobia operates as a discourse that functions internally in Russia to racially other ethnic groups once part of the imagined Soviet friendship of peoples while conferring racial (“white") unity to the category of Russian (Rossiiskie). Through political discourses that aim to defend and define “the population,” the Russian nation is (re)imagined in sexual and racial terms. Thus, we should consider recent (and ongoing) anti-gender movements symptoms of subaltern empire in addition to (instead of?) illiberalism.
Jennifer Suchland is an Associate Professor at Ohio State University (2008-present) and work in both the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Department of Slavic and East European Languages & Cultures. In her scholarship she focuses on how rights categories emerge, evolve and circulate culturally and through law. Her book, Economies of Violence: Transnational Feminism, Postsocialism, and the Politics of Sex Trafficking (Duke University Press, 2015), is a genealogy of global human trafficking discourse in and through the end of the Cold War. The project is tied to transnational feminist studies, postsocialist cultural studies, and critical human rights. She continues to work on critical human rights, including human trafficking, as well as has new projects on human rights in the Anthropocene and theorizing race in and across (post)Soviet coloniality.