Queer in the Other Europe

 

Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
Location: Los Angeles, California, Us
Date: Feb 26, 2014
Organizers: Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative by ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.

LGBTQ culture in Eastern Europe was transformed in the liberal post-Soviet era. Today, a turn toward reactionary political and religious ideologies is threatening the recently found freedom of queer Eastern Europe. A two-part series will explore queer culture, activism, and contemporary histories in the region.

When Communist regimes fell across Eastern Europe, a widespread sense of social optimism inspired many LGBTQ groups to push for greater equality and visibility. Subsequent right-wing insurgencies and a turn toward fundamentalist religious traditions have thwarted LGBTQ social movements and led to harsh repression of gay-pride parades, street protests, and political theatre. This discussion will examine such a turn of events as experienced in both Poland and Russia and how these transformations affect LGBTQ issues and communities around the world. Moderated by Anastasia Kayiatos, Visiting Professor of Russian and Women’s Studies at Macalester College, the panel features contemporary artist Anna Viola Hallberg, whose work State of Mind (2006-08) looks at the LGBTQ community in St. Petersburg; Polish scholar and curator Pawel Leszkowicz; and Moscow-based historian Ira Roldugina.

 

 

Anna Viola Hallberg is a Stockholm based artist who works from a project-based method using multidisciplinary structures. Photography, video, sound, and text are used for installations or interventions. She is a socially and politically engaged artist interested in innovative public and collaborative practices.  Between 2006-2013, Hallberg toured the installation State of Mind (2006-08) on the LGBTQ community in St. Petersburg produced in collaboration with Annica Karlsson Rixon. She has presented on public space and LGBTQ issues internationally include lectures in India, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and the United States. Find more information on Hallberg’s work at annaviolahallberg.com.

Pawel Leszkowicz is an art historian, academic and independent curator specializing in contemporary art and LGBTQ studies in Poland and the United Kingdom. He is the curator of the exhibition Ars Homo Erotica (2010) at the National Museum of Warsaw and author of the accompanying catalogue. He has written four books: Helen Chadwick: The Iconography of Subjectivity (2001); Love and Democracy: Reflections on the Homosexual Question in Poland (2005); Art Pride: Gay Art from Poland (2010); and The Naked Man: The Male Nude in Post-1945 Polish Art (2012). Leszkowicz is currently a visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex and is working on a comparative study of LGBTQ rights and art in the UK and Poland.

Anastasia Kayiatos earned a PhD in Slavic and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley, where she also ran interdisciplinary working groups on disability studies and Socialisms & Sexualities from 2008-2012. Selections from her dissertation on silence and alterity in post-Stalin Russia have been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly and Theatre Survey (in English), the Journal of Social Policy Studies (in Russian), and Astrolabio (in Spanish). Before moving into the polar vortex of the Midwest last fall for a visiting position in Russian, Women’s Studies and Critical Theory at Macalester College, Professor Kayiatos was soaking up the So-Cal sun and lush intellectual life at USC as a Provost’s postdoctoral fellow in the humanities. She continues to chip away at a book manuscript on silent performances of sexual difference in the Soviet Union, tentatively titled Suggestive Gestures: Toward a Queer Socialist Aesthetic.

Ira Roldugina is a Moscow-based historian, member of the Moscow feminist group, and LGBT activist. Roldugina’s area of expertise includes 18th century social history and the history of gender-dissent in Russia. Her writing most recently appeared in the catalogue for QueerFest 2013 held in St. Petersburg. She is currently researching previously unavailable archival records on homosexuality in the early Soviet period and uncovering declassified cases concerning homosexuality under Stalin. (Text: ONE Archive/USC

 

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