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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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6 ‘Global Standards’ and ‘Internalized Coloniality’: How Feminists in Russia See the ‘West’ (Vanya Mark Solovey)

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Vanya Mark Solovey

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

Introduction

Is there a feminism in Russia?1 Most academic scholarship touching on the subject tends to claim that in Russia, feminism has failed or never ‘taken root’ (Yusupova 2014: 608; Turbine 2015: 327). Whereas there exists a considerable body of scholarship on the Russian2 women’s movement of the 1990s (see e.g. Posadskaya 1994; Racioppi & O’Sullivan See 1997; Sperling 1999; Zdravomyslova 2002), feminism’s current situation in Russia is, according to the broad academic consensus, one of decline and increasingly desperate struggles. A common academic narrative on feminists in Russia – be it on women’s rights NGOs or Pussy Riot – constructs them as a tiny handful←153 | 154→ of people who promote ‘Western’3 values in the face of an increasingly hostile patriarchal state (Johnson & Saarinen 2011; Johnson & Saarinen 2013; Turbine 2015). Exceptions to this trend are few (Sperling 2015), and they have to date mainly been published in other languages than English (Garstenauer 2010; Garstenauer 2018; Сенькова 2018), which limits their impact on the academic mainstream.4

Having spent my formative years as a feminist activist in Moscow, I see the situation differently. Since the mid-2000s, grassroots feminist movements in Russia5 have been growing steadily and at an impressing pace. At the present moment, feminist collectives all over Russia are organizing consciousness-raising and support groups, holding protests, educational, and cultural events. Thousands of online projects across various...

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