Looking Eastward
US-Identity, Western Values, and Vulnerable Russian Bodies
The intersectional analysis investigates US-American discourses around Russia, its citizens and the construction of (national) cultural values, cultural representations, and identities. In recent years, public news in the United States frequently focused on the vulnerability of Russian women, LGBTs, and people with disabilities vis-à-vis the Russian state, the Orthodox Church, and mainstream society. Popular culture discovered Russian feminists, queers, and people with disabilities as worthy of its attention, and TV series and Hollywood films started featuring Russian protagonists. The project asks for the reasons, cultural significance and goals of the increasing interest in Russian subjects and bodies. It interrogates into the place of Russian vulnerable citizens against the background of the increasing disassociation of Russia from the US within media reports, tabloids, TV-shows, and popular culture, as well as countercultural discourses. The key hypothesis is that within US discourses Russia serves as paragon for intolerance and authoritarianism that allows for a construction of the USA as the most tolerant and progressive country in the world. The points or figures of reference for this binary co-construction are the regime's victims—sexual and gender minorities, women and people with disabilities. With the US, the whole global West becomes signified as a positive role model, against the anti-modern, backward and orthodox Russian Federation. Moreover, the ideas of what makes modernity or postmodernity modern, as well as its core concepts of freedom, tolerance and progress become reframed along and against the image of Russia.
Research Results
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
The research was made possible by the Hertha Firnberg Research Program of the Austrian Science Fund FWF.
Conference
Fucking Solidarity: queering concepts on/from a Post-Soviet perspective
The international conference Fucking Solidarity: queering concepts on/from a Post-Soviet perspective was held from 20-23 September 2017 at the University of Vienna, Dep. of English and American Studies. It was part VIII of the international conference series Queering Paradigms, and discussed the possibilities, gains and limits of queer solidarity. "Fucking" solidarity meant to thoroughly and critically investigating into the idea, the theories, the practices and the art of solidarity, from different angles, different spaces, from and with different groups. Moreover, it meant to discuss the pleasures and erotics of queer solidarity, their drives, and desires behind it. In this way, the conference participants reflected on hegemonies and possibility for anti-hierarchical empowerment, the possibilities of queering existing concepts and practices of solidarity.
The results of the conference will be published as Special Issue of Feminist Critique: East European Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies. Furthermore, they will be compiled in an anthology published within the Queering Paradigms series by Peter Lang Publishing Group.
Elena Kostyuchenko speaking @ Fucking Solidarity
Contact

E-mail: kathiwiedlack@gmail.com
Social networks: Facebook | Youtube
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