Professor Emily Van Buskirk

cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:480:03 and Women’s & Gender Studies 01:988:435:01

In English. No prerequisites.

In this course we study questions of gender and sexuality in modern Russian literature and culture through close readings of novellas, short stories, poems, films, essays, and memoirs. How have gender and sexuality been constructed in different periods of Russian history? What erotic utopias did radical thinkers propose? How did Soviet ideology build on traditional myths and images of femininity and masculinity? How have gay and lesbian love been represented, given the enduring presence of cultural taboos? The course will move from key (pre-)19th-century predecessors (fairy tales, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy), through the turbulent decades surrounding the Bolshevik Revolution (symbolism and decadence, various avant-garde movements, Socialist Realism), and on to contemporary literature with its flowering of feminist writing and performance. We will broaden our study through encounters with influential theoretical and critical texts, both inside and outside the Russian tradition.