Other Russias: Homosexuality and the Crisis of Post-Soviet Identity

Overview

This unprecedented book examines the explosion of homosexual discourse in post-Soviet Russia from the turbulent years of the immediate post-communist era through the more troubling recent developments of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Focusing on concepts of sexuality, gender, and national identity within competing portrayals of same-sex desire, Brian James Baer explores a variety of popular media, including fiction, film, television, music, and print to detail how homosexuality in today’s Russia has come to signify a ...

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Overview

This unprecedented book examines the explosion of homosexual discourse in post-Soviet Russia from the turbulent years of the immediate post-communist era through the more troubling recent developments of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Focusing on concepts of sexuality, gender, and national identity within competing portrayals of same-sex desire, Brian James Baer explores a variety of popular media, including fiction, film, television, music, and print to detail how homosexuality in today’s Russia has come to signify a surprising and often contradictory array of uniquely post-Soviet concerns.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Baer’s immensely readable volume adds greatly to the scholarship on post-Soviet culture as well as gender and sexuality studies; his original and incisive analysis uncovers the ways in which discussions about (Russian) homosexuality signify the Russian populace’s eclectic attempts to construct a post-Soviet identity and aesthetic."—The Russian Review
 
Other Russias is a fascinating study of the significance of homosexuality in post-Soviet Russian culture…In this first major study of homosexuality in Russian culture, Baer deftly negotiates the complexity of cross-cultural studies of homosexuality, avoiding the pitfalls of projections onto an Orientalized other and allowing Russian cultural motifs to speak on their own terms and in their own language.”—Kevin Moss, Professor of Russian, Middlebury College and editor of Out of the Blue: Russia’s Hidden Gay Literature.
 
“With restless curiosity, Baer entertains as he tells us what homosexuality means in contemporary Russian culture. Other Russias explores not only what a globalizing Western eye has made of queerness in Moscow (and beyond), but what Russians themselves have made of the sexual ‘other’ in their midst. Baer’s intelligent readings of post-Soviet high- and low-brow literature and films show how homosexuality has become an essential element in fictions of national collapse, a talisman of gender identities and literary conventions in flux. Baer’s chapter on the comeback—after 74 years in the Soviet close—of Russia’s ‘spiritual homosexual’ restores a long-lost cultural type to the map of European culture. This book will be essential reading for all queer studies enthusiasts.”—Dan Healey, Swansea University and author of Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia
 
“Through a close reading of post-Soviet literature and film, Baer illuminates the complexities of changing assumptions about homosexuality in contemporary Russia. A fascinating illustration of the ways in which historical and cultural specificities create new ways of understanding sexuality, and a warning against too easy assumptions about sexual freedoms in twenty first century Russia.”—Dennis Altman, Professor and Convenor of Politics, La Trobe University and author of Global Sex and Homosexual
 
"Baer has written a groundbreaking study of the discourse surrounding homosexuality as a reflection of Russian post-Soviet identity from the late 1980s through the Putin presidency. Effectively deploying historical and geographical frameworks, the author juxtaposes inherently Russian associations to the notion of homosexuality as a Western import that threatens Russian male identity.  Essential"—CHOICE

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230612242
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 3/15/2009
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian James Baer is Professor of Russian Language, Literature and Translation Studies at Kent State University. He has published widely on issues of gender, sexuality, and cross-cultural communication, and is founding editor of the jourbanal Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: An Embarrassment of Meanings
• Russian Gays/Western Gaze: Mapping the (Homo)Sexual Landscape of Post-Soviet Russia
• Making a Spectacle of Homosexuality: The Problem of Gay (In)Visibility
• The Other Within Us: Homosexual Panic and the Post-Soviet Detektiv * Resurrecting the Spiritual Homosexual: Homosexuality and Russian Cultural Citizenship * Perversion, Inversion, and Literary Forebears: Homosexuality and the Search for a Post-Soviet Aesthetics

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