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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide

by Katharina Wiedlack (Volume editor) Saltanat Shoshanova (Volume editor) Masha Godovannaya (Volume editor)
Edited Collection X, 372 Pages
Series: Queering Paradigms, Volume 10

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction (Katharina Wiedlack / Saltanat Shoshanova / Masha Godovannaya)
  • Part I Queering Paradigms, Challenging the Western Gaze
  • 1 Fucking Solidarity: ‘Working Together’ Through (Un)pleasant Feelings (Katharina Wiedlack)
  • 2 Solidarity in Illegality: How the Corrupt East Is Already a Queer East (Veda Popovici)
  • 3 Queering Sodomy: A Challenge to ‘Traditional’ Sexual Relations in Russia (Nick Mayhew)
  • 4 ‘We’ll Be Fine, and You Just Hang in There’: A Queer Critique of the Imperial Gaze in Gaycation Episode ‘Ukraine’ (Nadiya Chushak / Yulia Serdyukova / Irina Tantsiura)
  • Part II Local Queer Practices: Between Nationalistic and Global Discourses
  • 5 New Lovers…? As Patriots and Citizens: Thinking beyond Homonationalism and Promises of Freedom (the Ukrainian case) (Lesia Pagulich)
  • 6 ‘Global Standards’ and ‘Internalized Coloniality’: How Feminists in Russia See the ‘West’ (Vanya Mark Solovey)
  • 7 Prides in Estonia: Struggling in the Centrifugal Pulls of Nationalism and Transnational Leveraged Pedagogy (Raili Uibo)
  • 8 Transition Narratives on Polish Trans Blogs: A Discursive Colonization Approach (Joanna Chojnicka)
  • Part III The Solidarity ‘Stress Test’ – Solidarity in Action – Empirical Studies of Queer Migration and Western Solidarity Projects
  • 9 Could You Show Me Chechnya on the Map? The Struggle for Solidarity within the Support Campaign for Homosexual Refugees from the North Caucasus in France (Elena Smirnova)
  • 10 Migrating Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ Activists: On Displacement, Sense of Belonging and Transnational Activism (Pauliina Lukinmaa / Aleksandr Berezkin)
  • 11 Working with Russian-speaking LGBTIQ Refugees in Berlin (Masha Beketova)
  • Part IV Art-based Research, Artivism, and Other Forms of Resistance
  • 12 Boston Marriages in Contemporary Russia and Beyond (Alexandra Yaseneva / Ekaterina Davydova)
  • 13 Queer Kinship or Queering Kinship: Starting Points, Methodological Speculations, Overcoming, Searching for Art Practices and Language – a Lecture-performance (The Queer-Feminist Affinity Art Group ‘Unwanted Organisation’)
  • 14 The Fucking Solidarity Manifesto
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index

Queer-Feminist
Solidarity and the
East/West Divide

Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova,
Masha Godovannaya (eds)

In cooperation with Masha Neufeld

About the editors

Katharina Wiedlack is a post-doctoral researcher in the fields of queer and feminist theory, Popular Culture, American, Postsocialist, Decolonial and Disability Studies.

Saltanat Shoshanova is currently pursuing her Master's degree in History of Arts at the Free University Berlin. Her research interests include art in connection to queer and feminist theory, queer migration, decoloniality and post-Soviet space.

Masha Godovannaya is a visual artist, queer-feminist researcher, curator, educator, and she co-founded a queer-feminist affinity art group “Unwanted Organisation”.

About the book

Queering Paradigms VIII brings together critical discourses on queer-feminist solidarity between Western, post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It highlights transnational solidarity efforts against homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. It engages grass-roots activists and community organizers in a conversation with scholars, and shows that the lines between these categories are blurry and that queer theorists and analysts are to be found in all spheres of queer-feminist culture. It highlights that queer paradigms and theories are born in street protests, in community spaces, in private spheres, through art and culture as well as in academia, and that the different contexts speak to each other.

This anthology presents some of the radical approaches that emerge at the intersection of activism, community organizing, art and academia, through transnational exchange, migration and collaborations. It is a celebration of alliances and solidarities between activism, community building, art, culture and academic knowledge production. Yet, the collected work also brings forward the necessary critique of Western hegemonies involved in contemporary queer-feminist solidarity activism and theory between the ‘East’ and ‘West.’ It is an important thinking about, thinking through and thinking in solidarity and the East/West divide, setting new impulses to fight oppression in all its forms.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Contents

Acknowledgments

Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

Introduction

Part IQueering Paradigms, Challenging the Western Gaze

Katharina Wiedlack

1 Fucking Solidarity: ‘Working Together’ Through (Un)pleasant Feelings

Veda Popovici

2 Solidarity in Illegality: How the Corrupt East Is Already a Queer East

Nick Mayhew

3 Queering Sodomy: A Challenge to ‘Traditional’ Sexual Relations in Russia

nadiya chushak, Yulia Serdyukova and Irina Tantsiura

4 ‘We’ll Be Fine, and You Just Hang in There’: A Queer Critique of the Imperial Gaze in Gaycation Episode ‘Ukraine’←v | vi→

Part IILocal Queer Practices: Between Nationalistic and Global Discourses

Lesia Pagulich

5 New Lovers…? As Patriots and Citizens: Thinking beyond Homonationalism and Promises of Freedom (the Ukrainian case)

Vanya Mark Solovey

6 ‘Global Standards’ and ‘Internalized Coloniality’: How Feminists in Russia See the ‘West’

Raili Uibo

7 Prides in Estonia: Struggling in the Centrifugal Pulls of Nationalism and Transnational Leveraged Pedagogy

Joanna Chojnicka

8Transition Narratives on Polish Trans Blogs: A Discursive Colonization Approach

Part IIIThe Solidarity ‘Stress Test’ – Solidarity in Action – Empirical Studies of Queer Migration and Western Solidarity Projects

Elena Smirnova

9 Could You Show Me Chechnya on the Map? The Struggle for Solidarity within the Support Campaign for Homosexual Refugees from the North Caucasus in France

Pauliina Lukinmaa and Aleksandr Berezkin

10 Migrating Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ Activists: On Displacement, Sense of Belonging and Transnational Activism←vi | vii→

Masha Beketova

11 Working with Russian-speaking LGBTIQ Refugees in Berlin

Part IVArt-based Research, Artivism, and Other Forms of Resistance

Alexandra Yaseneva and Ekaterina Davydova

12 Boston Marriages in Contemporary Russia and Beyond

the queer-feminist affinity art group ‘unwanted organisation’

13 Queer Kinship or Queering Kinship: Starting Points, Methodological Speculations, Overcoming, Searching for Art Practices and Language – a Lecture-performance

14 The Fucking Solidarity Manifesto

Notes on Contributors

Index←vii | viii→ ←viii | ix→

Acknowledgments

This book is part of the larger project of applied academic queering in the form of the international scholar-activist network Queering Paradigms (QP).1 The editors want to thank the Queering Paradigms Network, and especially Bee Scherer, K.O. O’Mara, Betty Wambui, Patrick de Vries, and Leonardo J. Raznovich for their generous support. Without their faith in the people involved in this book project, none of this could have ever happened.

This volume draws from the Queering Paradigms VIII conference titled Fucking Solidarity: Queering Concepts on/from a Post-Soviet Perspective, which was held at the Department for English and American Studies at the University of Vienna, from September 20–23, 2017. We want to thank Liza Belorusova, Siajvo Pivnichne, Sasha Skorykh, and Tania Zabolotnaya for coorganizing this event with us and all the conference participants, artists, scholars, and students for their important input during and following the conference that helped to shape the subsequent book.

All chapters in this book were double-blind peer-reviewed and we want to convey our gratitude to all the peer-reviewers for their meticulous and constructive contributions. We want to thank Doris Arztmann, Brigitte Bargetz, Persson Baumgartinger, Heike Bestel, Darja Davydova, Therese Garstenauer, Cassandra Hartblay, Marty Huber, Dijana Jelača, Roberto Kulpa, Natalya Laskina, Annika Lems, Barbara Maly, Rasa Navickaitė, Viktoria Pötzl, Anna Sapuntsova, Olga Sasunkevich, Yana Sitnikova, Jennifer Suchland, Marianna Szczygielska, Daniil Zhaivoronok, and Jessica Zychowicz for their important input and critiques on various drafts of this anthology. We also want to express our deepest gratitude to Sam Osborn for the thorough language editing of all the texts.

Our special gratitude goes to Maria Mayerchyk and Olga Plakhotnik, the two editors in chief and their team of the open access online journal←ix | x→ Feminist Critique: East European Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies.2 They have agreed to collaborate with Siajvo Pivnichne, Liza Belorusova and our editing team in publishing versions of some of our chapters and additional materials from the ‘Fucking Solidarity’ conference in one of their upcoming special issues. The texts will be published in Russian and Ukrainian, which will allow non-English readers to learn about the exciting critical work on queer-feminist solidarity beyond the East/West divide.

Last but not least, Lucy Melville and the team from Peter Lang also deserve a most grateful mention for their constantly friendly and professional support.

This book is partly funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) as part of the project ‘Looking Eastward’ (T 767-G28).←x | 1→


1 Website: <http://queeringparadigms.com/>. Twitter: @queeringp. Facebook: <https://www.facebook.com/Q.Paradigms>.

2 <http://feminist.krytyka.com>.

Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

Introduction

The Geographical and Cultural Context: Homophobia and the East/West Divide

The last decade saw a revival of dichotomous thinking that the editors and authors of this book were taught in school as something belonging to the ‘past.’ As children of the 1980s and 1990s, we saw walls and curtains fall, and maps being newly drawn from different sides of the so-called East/West divide. The Cold War was declared to have ended, and with it the fundamental distinction between the West and the East that went far beyond the geographical (and had in fact never really corresponded to geography, as far as Central Europe is concerned). However, the enthusiasm of this declaration turned out to be premature.

Thirty years into the post-Soviet and postsocialist so-called ‘transition’ (which seems to be a never-ending process),1 the distinction between the so-called ‘East’ and ‘West’ has arguably become more pronounced, more emphasized, and called upon more frequently than ever before during our collective lifetimes. The old significations of ‘East’ and ‘West’ have been resurrected and new binary oppositions have been added to their assemblages of meanings; today, the East/West divide signifies the chasm between←1 | 2→ ‘traditionalism’ and ‘progress,’ ‘the retrograde’ and ‘the developed,’ ‘religiousness’ and ‘secularism,’ between ‘uncivilized’ and ‘civilized,’ etc. This chasm is strengthened by the discursive division between capitalist and (post)communist/socialist countries, following the legacy of the Cold War.

Proponents of both sides have declared issues of same-sex desire as well as sexual and gender non-normativity to be defining aspects of their respective ideological, national, and cultural sides (Riabov & Riabova 2012; Neufeld & Wiedlack 2016; Dhawan 2013). Hence, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and intersex people, as well as queer and otherly identified individuals and groups have become the ‘lynchpins for value negotiations’ (Neufeld & Wiedlack 2016).

Western nations such as the U.S.A. (Puar 2007) and supranational institutions such as the EU (Kulpa 2014) have instrumentalized the social and political inclusion of some gay and lesbian existences and lifestyles into ideas of citizenship, progress, and modernity to stabilize or extend their power and influence on other regions. Many invasive practices in and sanctions on other countries were justified by Western nations in the ‘name of LGBT+ rights’ (for example, in the case of Iran, see Khoshgozaran 2012). Through the employment of ‘homonationalism’ (Puar 2007) – namely the state-sanctioned protection of some LGBT people (i.e. mostly white, middle-class, able-bodied, with full citizenship and non-criminal background) and their rights, and its entanglement with nationalistic, racist, and xenophobic positions, these nations could justify and maintain their exclusionary policies against migrants. In many Western countries, public discourses construct non-European immigrants as a threat to LGBTIQ+ people (Feder et al. 2017), and some demand mandatory value tests for refugees as well as policies that would reject their applications if the test results showed homophobia or misogyny (Debating Europe 2016). These debates are based on the notion that migrants, and especially Muslim migrants, are homophobic and thus do not share Western values of tolerance and do not fit into Western societies, which by contrast are imagined as entirely egalitarian (Ammaturo 2015).2←2 | 3→

Summary

Queering Paradigms VIII brings together critical discourses on queer-feminist solidarity between Western, post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It highlights transnational solidarity efforts against homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. It engages grass-roots activists and community organizers in a conversation with scholars, and shows that the lines between these categories are blurry and that queer theorists and analysts are to be found in all spheres of queer-feminist culture. It highlights that queer paradigms and theories are born in street protests, in community spaces, in private spheres, through art and culture as well as in academia, and that the different contexts speak to each other.
This anthology presents some of the radical approaches that emerge at the intersection of activism, community organizing, art and academia, through transnational exchange, migration and collaborations. It is a celebration of alliances and solidarities between activism, community building, art, culture and academic knowledge production. Yet, the collected work also brings forward the necessary critique of Western hegemonies involved in contemporary queer-feminist solidarity activism and theory between the ‘East’ and ‘West.’ It is an important thinking about, thinking through and thinking in solidarity and the East/West divide, setting new impulses to fight oppression in all its forms.

Biographical notes

Katharina Wiedlack (Volume editor) Saltanat Shoshanova (Volume editor) Masha Godovannaya (Volume editor)

Katharina Wiedlack is a post-doctoral researcher in the fields of queer and feminist theory, Popular Culture, American, Postsocialist, Decolonial and Disability Studies. Saltanat Shoshanova is currently pursuing her Master's degree in History of Arts at the Free University Berlin. Her research interests include art in connection to queer and feminist theory, queer migration, decoloniality and post-Soviet space. Masha Godovannaya is a visual artist, queer-feminist researcher, curator, educator, and she co-founded a queer-feminist affinity art group "Unwanted Organisation".

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Title: Queering Paradigms VIII