Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Pride flag in St. Petersburg. Image links to event page.



Conference. Criminalized Again: Culture(s) of LGBTQI+ in Search of Freedom
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Please join the Harriman Institute, the University Seminar on Slavic History and Culture, the Department of Slavic Languages, and the Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender of Columbia University and Leeds University UK for the conference “Criminalized Again: Culture(s) of LGBTQI+ in Search for Freedom.” Organized by Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University) and Vlad Strukov (Leeds University, UK).

Conference Program

Day One | Thursday, April 11, 2024

3:00 PM | Opening Session: Legal Systems of Repression: LGBTQI+ in the Russian Context

  • Masha Gessen / in conversation with Vlad Strukov

4:30 PM | Panel: Histories of (homo)phobia

Moderator: Mark Lipovetsky

  • Anti-Soviet, Counter-Revolutionary, Sympathetic to Fascism: The Invention of the “Treacherous” Homosexual and Recriminalisation of Homosexuality in the USSR
    • Irina Roldugina
  • “Aversion Therapy” in the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982: What Was It, and How Was It Done?
    • Rustam Alexander
  • The Social Modelling of (Anti-)Gender Discourse in Russia and Poland in the Context of the History of Concepts
    • Ewelina Woźniak-Wrzesińska

6:30 PM | Experiences of Queer Exile

  • Olga Bar and Zhenia Shtorn / moderated by Vlad Strukov


Day Two | Friday, April 12, 2024

9:00 AM | Panel: Queer Re-Readings

Moderator: Liza Senatorova

  • “The Love of This Summer”: Queer Contra Gay in 1906 Saint Petersburg
    • Evgenii Bershtein
  • Late Soviet Gender Trouble: The Queer Texts and Contexts of Viktor Sosnora
    • Ivan Sokolov
  • Breaking Cultural Ice: Mission Impossible? On Mis-reception of Mikhail Kuzmin’s “The Trout” Cycle, 1976-2023
    • Lada Panova

11:30 AM | Panel: Queer Documentaries

Moderator: Uma Payne

  • The Fragile Promise of Making Oneself Heard: Cultural Paradigms of Queer Russophone Nonfiction Cinema from 2013 to 2022
    • Lora Maslenitsyna
  • Rudnitskaya’s Victory Day: The Illiberal Trajectory of “Gay Politics under Putin
    • Brian Baer

2:00 PM | Panel: De-Colonial Approaches to Queer Cultures

Moderator: Alexei Shvyrkov

  • Why Can’t I Name My Child What I Want?: Queer-Feminist Legal Victory and Anti-Gender Backlash in Bishkek
    • Cassandra Hartblay
  • Compulsory “Feminine Happiness” and Lesbian Existence in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
    • Mokhira Surakulova

4:00 PM | Panel: Queer Media

Moderator: Tatiana Efremova

  • Queer Discourses in 21st Century: Russian Media as Spaces of De/Self-Colonization
    • Olga Andreevsikh
  • The Nativist-Populist Construction of the “Pure People” through the Othering of Sexual and Gender Minorities in Russia
    • Richard Mole


Day Three | Saturday, April 13, 2024

9:00 AM | Panel: Queer Aesthetics (A)

Moderator: Tatiana Krasilnikova

  • Outcasts: The Last Queer Soviet Generation
    • Roman Utkin
  • Renaissance and Resistance: Exhibiting Queer Art in Post-Soviet Russia
    • Maria Engstrom
  • What is Russian Queer Theatre?
    • Tatiana Klepikova
  • Instrumentalizing Affect and the Queer Body in Music Performances by Shortparis
    • Tatiana Efremova

12:00 PM | Queer Aesthetics (B)

Moderator: Myles Garbarini

  • Queer Comics and Decolonization
    • Jose Alaniz
  • Queerness Ex Nihilo?: On the Continuous Invention of Queer Art
    • Brett Donohoe
  • Queering the Meanings of Production: A Comparison of 1920s Soviet Lesbian and 21st Century Queer Russian Understandings of Queerness as Cultural Capital
    • Egan Chambers

3:00 PM | Roundtable Discussion: Queer Arts

Maya GarciaYevgeniy Fiks, and Victoria Suvoroff in conversation with Vlad Strukov

4:30 PM | Panel: Queer Aesthetics (C)

Moderator: Mark Lipovetsky

  • Queer Young Adult Literature in Russia: Growth Despite Censorship
    • Ekaterina Tutatina
  • Summer in a Pioneer Tie: Boys Love Meets Girl Power in Putin’s Russia
    • Julia A. Cassiday
  • Women’s Queer Desire in Recent Russian and Soviet Cinema: Towards a Genealogy
    • Rachel Morley

7:30 PM | Film Screening: Queendom

Followed by Q&A with film producer Igor Myakotin. Moderated by Vlad Strukov.