Event Series: Queer Focus

December 22, 2023

Event Series: Queer Focus

Queer Focus: Gender and Sexualities in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The seven-part virtual event series "Queer Focus" will examine queer studies within Eurasia through a variety of disciplines and themes. 

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.

This series was developed and implemented by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and the Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (CSEEES) at The Ohio State University with support from the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies. CSEEES faculty affiliates Philip Gleissner (Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures (SEELC)) and Jennifer Suchland (SEELC and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)), Ohio State Post-Doctoral Scholar Tatsiana Shchurko (WGSS) and SEELC alumnus Randall Rowe (U of Cincinnati) will be featured in the series.


Panel 1: Overview/State of the Field * January 19, 2024 *11:00-12:30 pm ET

Moderator: Emily Channell-Justice, Director, Temerty Program on Contemporary Ukraine, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute


  • Simone Bellezza, Assistant Professor of Modern History, Department of Social Sciences, University of Naples Federico 
  • Tamar Shirinian, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee Knoxville 
  • Vladislav Beronja, Assistant Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, University of Texis at Austin
  • Jasmina Tumbas, Associate Professor, Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Buffalo

Panel 2: History and Archives * January 26, 2024 * 11:00-12:30pm ET

Moderator: Anita Kurimay, Associate Professor of History and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Bryn Mawr College


  • Feruza Aripova, Visiting Scholar, Columbia University
  • Kamil Karczewski, Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University College London
  • Irina Roldugina, UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
  • Roman Utkin, Assistant Professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Wesleyan University

Panel 3: Arts and Culture * February 2, 2024 * 11:00-12:30 pm ET

Moderator: Philip Gleissner, Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University


  • Ramona Dima, Associate Professor, Center for Gender Studies, University of Stavanger
  • Luc Beaudoin, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Denver 
  • Maria Engstrom, Professor of Russian, Department of Modern Languages, University of Uppsala
  • Aleksandra Gajowy, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin 

Panel 4: Politics and Law * February 16, 2024 * 11:00-12:30 pm ET

 Moderator: Helene Thibault, Associate Professor of Political Science, Nazarbayev University


  • Katalin Fabian, Professor of Government and Law, Lafayette College
  • Jennifer Suchland, Associate Professor, Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University
  • Marianna Muravyeva, Professor of Law, University of Helsinki
  • Piro Rexhepi, independent researcher 

Panel 5: Migration * March 1, 2024 * 11:00—12:30pm ET

Moderator: Alexandra Novitskaya, Title VIII Research Fellow, Kennan Institute/Woodrow Wilson Center, Research Affiliate at Indiana University


  • Randall Rowe, Assistant Professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, University of Cincinnati
  • Evgeny Shtorn, Doctoral Candidate in Political, Societal and Cultural Change, University of Helsinki 
  • Mariya Levitanus, Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy, University of Edinburgh 
  • Maryna Shevtsova, FWO Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Panel 6: Activism * March 15, 2024 * 11:00-12:30 pm ET

Moderator: Lyosha Gorshkov, Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, Colgate University 


  • Shota Kincha, Staff Writer, Open Caucasus Media
  • Zhanar Sekerbayeva, Co-Founder, Kazakhstan’s LGBTQ Feminist Initiative “Feminita”
  • Mohira Suyarkulova, Associate Professor, Department of International and Comparative Politics, American University of Central Asia 
  • Tatsiana Shchurko, Post-Doctoral Scholar, Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University

Panel 7: On Ukraine * March 22, 2024 * 11:00-12:30 pm ET

Moderator: Alex Averbuch, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University


  • Vitaly Chernetsky, Professor, Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Kansas
  • Tamara Hundorova, Visiting Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
  • Dafna Rachok, PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of Indiana Bloomington
  • Sandra Joy Russell, Visiting Lecturer in Gender Studies, Mount Holyoke College


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, The 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