Propagandize This: LGBTQ Russia, Past and Present

Spring 2022, Swarthmore

In 2013, the Russian government passed a law forbidding the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” – that is, restricting and potentially criminalizing any open discussion of LGBTQ identities or direct acknowledgment of the existence of queer people in Russia. Homophobic Russian rhetoric emphasizes the supposedly recent and foreign nature of LGBTQ identity and ideas – an idea at odds with the diverse sexuality and gender legacies of Russia and the USSR. We will consider the authors represented in this course, which covers the 19th century through the present, as participants in legacies, but also as individual creators, and sometimes theorists, of queer strategies of survival, as well as LGBTQ thought and art.