Historicising homophobic myths and stories from the Soviet Baltics – presentation by Rebeka Põldsam, 11 November 2021
11 November 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 (CET), Sala degli Stemmi, Villa Salviati – Castle
In this seminar Rebeka Põldsam will present her research about the history of non-normative sexualities and genders in Estonia. Her research extends from the inter-war period, when the modern terminology about sexuality gained ground, to the present, when sex-gender identities are proliferating and considered as intersectional phenomena. This seminar focuses on still current homophobic myths and the situation of marginalised sexual groups during the Cold War era in Soviet Estonia, partly also in Soviet Latvia and Lithuania. The challenges and outcomes of studying the criminalisation of male homosexuality will be discussed. What kind of myths were created by criminalisation? How did they function in the official discourse? What is the afterlife of those myths and how do they connect with longer-term processes? What is the history of other marginalised groups, whose sexuality was only partially regulated by the law or not at all mentioned in public?
Rebeka Põldsam is a doctoral student at the Department of Ethnology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. She studies the history of non-normative sexualities and genders in Estonia in the past hundred years, combining ethnographic methods and archival work with Karen Barad’s agential realism and Raymond Williams’ concept of structures of feeling. Põldsam is also a free-lance feminist art curator and critic and works with the estates of artists Anu Põder and Anna-Stina Treumund.
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