“There is not sex in the USSR!” – so goes the infamous cliché uttered by a soviet participant of the 1986 Boston-Leningrad Women’s TV Bridge. Obviously, sex there was. But, soviet culture maintained a rigid prohibition against public expressions of sexuality for a good 60 years. The advent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s ‘glasnost’ in 1986 enabled soviet filmmakers to screen ‘sexuality’. Much has been written about the misogynist representations of women’s sexuality on the russian screen in subsequent years. By contrast, non-heterosexuals have been overlooked. In this talk, Misha Yakovlev argues that the russian screen also saw the emergence of a tentative homonationalism – much curtailed by the putin regime since. Following Jasbir Puar’s pathbreaking theorisation of ‘US homonationalism’ in Terrorist Assemblages, Misha claims that russian homonationalism both buttressed heterosexuality as the norm and operated a commitment to ‘the global ascendancy of whiteness’ by excluding gendered (non-men), racialised (non-white/Muslim), classed (poor) bodies from its definition of acceptable russian gay.
Misha Yakovlev’s main academic interest is ‘translation’ of queer theory and decolonial thinking for the study of the russian screen (film, television, ‘new media’) and culture more broadly.
Currently, they are pursuing a PhD in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick, under the supervision of Dr Karl Schoonover and Professor Rachel Moseley. The focus of their research is shifting configurations of gender, sexuality and race on the russian screen during the period often described as “transition from Communism” (1986-2008). Misha’s MA thesis, written under the supervision of Dr Rachel Morley as (Gender, Society and Representation programme at UCL), applied queer and decolonial theorising to the exploration of gender normativities and Orientalist tropes in Leonid Gaidai’s popular comedy features (1956-1968).
In addition, Misha is involved with the Queer Asia Collective in London. They curated screenings for the July 2019 Queer Asia Festival at the British Museum and the ‘Queer Asia’: russia and Decolonisation screening in March 2020.
Everyone is welcome! However, racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, disableism, fatphobia, ageism or discrimination on basis of ethnicity, immigration status, or religious, cultural, and/or spiritual beliefs, or any other kind of oppressive behavior is unacceptable and if used participant will be excluded.
Please note that you need to get a free ticket via the Evenbrite link in the event. Zoom details will be shared two days before the event via email. Don’t share the details with anyone else. Participant audio and video will be turned off. QA will be conducted via chat.