Many efforts have been made over the past several years to diversify Eastern European and Eurasian studies. This new spotlight surfaces research that has been conducted by many scholars for much longer, highlighting their commitment to telling stories and honoring perspectives of diverse and minority communities. Their work reveals that while there is no unified queer experience in the region, there is often a one-size-fits all state response to the reality of queer lives in many nations within the region. How can a queer-studies focus advance conversations about decolonization in East European and Eurasian Studies? To address this question, Queer Focus will have six virtual panels featuring speakers from various disciplines and institutions. Panelists and participants will explore how gendered regimes were constitutive of Russo-centric relationships of power, defining the region and how we study it, as we collectively grapple with what it means to re-examine our current research, teaching, and institutional practices.
Panel 7 of the series will provide a specific look at LGBTQIA experiences in Ukraine, especially considering Russia's war against the country.
Alex Averbuch, Moderator, Postdoctoral Fellow, Davis Center, Harvard University
Alex Averbuch is a scholar, poet, and translator. He earned his Ph.D. in Slavic and Jewish studies at the University of Toronto with a dissertation on the history of the genre of solicitory poetry in Ukrainian, Russian, and Hebrew — works composed in these languages, from the early 18th to early 20th centuries, to aesthetically articulate political and economic aspirations, or make requests in poetic form of the Russian imperial or Soviet authorities and/or influential individuals for goods and benefits. Averbuch’s research explores commodity culture, gender and critical race theory, epistolarity, photography, theatricality and performance, translation, and creative writing in foreign language pedagogy. He is the author of three books of poetry and an array of literary translations connecting Hebrew, Ukrainian, Russian, and English.
Vitaly Chernetsky, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Kansas
Vitaly Chernetsky is a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. A native of Ukraine, he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Mapping Postcommunist Cultures: Russia and Ukraine in the Context of Globalization (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007; Ukrainian-language version, 2013) and of articles on modern and contemporary Slavic and East European literatures and cultures where he seeks to highlight cross-regional and cross-disciplinary contexts. Among his research interests are postmodernism, the postcolonial and decolonial discourse, cultural aspects of globalization, questions of identity and community in diasporic contexts, translation studies, and gender and queer studies of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. A book in Ukrainian, Intersections and Breakthroughs: Ukrainian Literature and Cinema between the Global and the Local, is forthcoming from Krytyka. He co-edited a bilingual anthology of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, Letters from Ukraine (2016), and an annotated Ukrainian translation of Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism (2007), and guest-edited a special issue on Ukraine for the film studies e-journal KinoKultura (2009). His translations into English include Yuri Andrukhovych’s novels The Moscoviad (2008) and Twelve Circles (2015) and a volume of his selected poems, Songs for a Dead Rooster (2018, with Ostap Kin), as well as Winter King, a poetry collection by Ostap Slyvynsky (with Iryna Shuvalova, 2023). Translation of Sophia Andrukhovych’s novel Felix Austria is forthcoming in 2024. He is a past president of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies (2009-2018) and the current first vice president of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the U.S. In 2024, Prof. Chernetsky is serving as the President of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).
Tamara Hundorova, Professor and Principal Research Scholar, Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Prof. Tamara Hundorova (a.k.a. Gundorova) is Doctor of Science, and Corresponding Member of the NAS of Ukraine. She is the Principal Research Fellow at the Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature (Ukraine) and is an Associate Fellow at HURI (USA) and Dean of the Ukrainian Free University (Germany). Currently she is a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at Princeton University. She is a member of PEN Ukraine. Tamara Hundorova is the author of many books including Lesia Ukrainka. Knyhy Syvilly (2023), The Post-Chornobyl Library. The Ukrainian Postmodernism of the 1990s (2019), Tranzytna kul’tura. Symptomy postkolonial’noi travmy (2013), Kitsch i Literatura. Travestii (2008), Franko i/ne Kameniar (2006); Femina melancholica. Stat' i kul'tura v gendernij utopii Ol'hy Kobylians'koi (2002) and more than 300 articles and chapters on modernism, postmodernism, feminism, postcolonial studies, and history of Ukrainian literature. Prof. Hundorova taught the courses at Princeton and Harvard Universities (USA), Toronto University (Canada), Greifswald University (Germany), Ukrainian Free University (Germany), Kyiv-Mohyla University (Ukraine), Kyiv National University (Ukraine). She is a former Fulbright Scholar (1998, 2009), Visiting scholar of Monash university (Australia, 1991) and a recipient of Yacyk Distinguished Fellowship (2009), Shklar fellowship (HURI, 2001-2002), Foreign visitors fellowship (Hokkaido University, 2004), MUNK School of Global Affair fellowship (University of Toronto, 2017), and Fellowship of Philipp Schwartz-Initiative of Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (University of Giessen).
Dafna Rachok, PhD Candidate, Indiana University Bloomington
Dafna Rachok is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her work sits at the intersection of global health, gender and sexuality studies, and Ukrainian studies. Her most recent chapter “Nudes Buy Army Boots: Agency, Subjectivity, and the Erotic During War” explores the TerOnlyFans movement and how the all-out war in Ukraine reshaped public discussions on gendered subjectivity and nudity. Her other works can be found in Anthropologica and Economic Anthropology. Dafna has an MA in Anthropology from University of Alberta (Canada) and a BA in Cultural Studies from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine).
Sandra Joy Russell, Visiting Lecturer, Gender Studies, Mount Holyoke College
Dr. Sandra Joy Russell is a Visiting Lecturer in Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Trained in Comparative Literature and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, her research examines how the feminist and queer literary and visual cultures of Ukraine enact a politics of care and belonging and engender a powerful anticolonial ethic, and she positions Ukrainian queer and feminist genealogies within broader transnational and anticolonial discourses. Her latest chapter, “’Are These Guys Gay or Merely from Moscow?’: Homonationalism and Martyrology in Ukrainian Literature, 1991-Present," was published in the edited collection Queer Transnationalities. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Russell is also the Associate Editor of Apofenie Magazine, and the Editor of Ukraïnica: The Primary Database of Ukrainian Studies—an online catalogue of English Translations of Ukrainian Literature and Film supported by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.
Additional financial support has been provided by:
Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of Kansas
Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of Michigan
Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, Indiana University, Bloomington
Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies, Arizona State University
Robert F. Byrnes Russian and East European Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington
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