Out of the Closet—Onto the Stage: Queer Theatre in Putin’s Russia

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Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Wednesday, January 29, 20204:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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This talk comes to grips with LGBTQ discourse in Russia outside of the familiar political and social narratives of oppression and violence that have been prevalent since the 2013 “anti-gay-propaganda” legislation. It turns instead to the cultural sphere and challenges its widely held perception as an arena for exclusively heteronormative discourse by revealing queerness as an increasingly popular object of artistic exploration and a recurrent performative strategy within the Russian performing arts and dramatic writing of the 21st century. I zoom into the stories of drag queens, transgender persons, gays, lesbians, and multiple queer selves and others to unveil the unique combination of linguistic, performative, and visual means that shape queerness as a Russian cultural imaginary. Apart from discussing the portrayals of queerness that emerge on stage and in dramatic texts, I will also focus on the institutional context in which these images are produced, paying attention, among other things, to the geographical determinants of the possibilities of individual narratives.

Tatiana Klepikova is a Faculty of Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, where she is working on her postdoctoral project about contemporary Russian queer theater and drama. She defended her Ph.D. in Slavic Literary Studies at the University of Passau, Germany, in 2019, after obtaining degrees in Teaching Foreign Languages (English and Spanish) in Yaroslavl (Russia), and Russian and East-Central European Studies in Passau. She is co-editor of several collections of interdisciplinary essays on privacy, including Outside the “Comfort Zone”: Private and Public Spheres in Late Socialist Europe (forthcoming in 2020 by De Gruyter). Her broader research interests include Soviet and contemporary Russian history and culture, political art, cultural privacy studies, queer studies, performance studies, and histories and cultures of LGBT communities in Eastern Europe.


Larysa Iarovenko


Tatiana Klepikova
Postdoctoral Researcher Women & Gender Studies Institute University of Toronto

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