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

Hardcover | March 15, 2009

byBrian James Baer

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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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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 des...

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 journal Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:228 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.69 inPublished:March 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230612245

ISBN - 13:9780230612242

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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

Editorial Reviews

"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