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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide

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Edited By Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

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.

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2 Solidarity in Illegality: How the Corrupt East Is Already a Queer East (Veda Popovici)

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Veda Popovici

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

Based on my own experiences as part of local radical leftist collectives in Romania, this chapter explores the tensions between a critique of Westernizing narratives about how queer politics should be organized in the semiperipheral territories of Eastern European society and the possibilities for forging new solidarities that emerge from such a critique. I analyze recent local developments in social movements in the Romanian context, with a special focus on the LGBTIQ+1 movement, from the position of a situated scholar-activist.

By analyzing understandings of the politics of respectability through legality, I identify legality as a node of convergences and divergences between various civic actors, ranging from social movements, liberal NGOs, and neoconservative organizations. I show that discourses of legality bring together anti-communist narratives, respectability politics, and aspirational tropes. I propose a redefining of illegality through ideas of queerness and corruption in order to affirm the possibility of a queer post-socialist subjectivity. By anchoring such a subjectivity in a new temporal frame outside of the neoliberal time of Western becoming, my intention is to reveal the notion of queer as corrupt as a radical category of subjectivation.←51 | 52→

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