Discussion: Untangling Gender – the Socialist Viewpoint

The discussion, moderated by Lisa Füchte (Ph.D. Candidate GWZO), focused on gender under socialism as a complex and multifaceted issue, with different perspectives on gender-based structures in the Soviet Union. It took place at EEGA member Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa (GWZO), May 11, 2023.

Prominent author and Professor Keti Chukhrov discussed parts of her recently published book Practicing the Good. Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) that deals with the impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism. In her presentation, Keti Chukhrov presented the chapter: “Gender and its Social Paradigms”. Another perspective has been resented by Ph.D. candidate Sasha Talaver (CEU). In her research Sasha focuses on the history of the women’s movement in the Soviet Union and in the discussion she addressed the topic of “Reproductive justice as the perspective for women’s movement in (Post-)Soviet Russia”, comparing the Soviet and post-Soviet policy-making. Dr. des. Marina Vinnik from Leipzig University on the material of her dissertation “Reimagining the Canon: Women Artists in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation” talked about women artists in the revolutionary and early Soviet years, analyzing their visual representation on the axis of gender and national identity.

In the discussion, the three guest speakers addressed broader questions such as potential pathways towards ‘untangling’ gender in research and curatorial practice, ways of grasping the ‘socialist viewpoint’ in a global perspective, and, ultimately, following an actor-centered approach, gave examples of strategies of individual actors and groups of actors to challenge pre-existing structures.

Guest speakers

Prof. Dr. Keti Chukhrov

Prof. Dr. Keti Chukhrov, currently a guest professor at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, until recently worked as a professor at the School of Philosophy & Сultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). In 2012-2017 she was the head of the Theory and Research department at the National Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow. In 2017-2019 she has been a Marie Sklodowska Curie fellow at the UK, Wolverhampton University. She has authored numerous texts on art theory and philosophy. Her research interests and publications deal with 1. Philosophy of performativity, 2. Soviet Marxist philosophy and communist epistemologies 3. Art as the Institute of Global Contemporaneity. She authored the film plays “Afghan-Kuzminki” (2013), “Love-machines” (2013), “Communion”(2016), Undead (2022) which were featured at the Bergen Assembly (2013), the Specters of Communism (James Gallery, NY, 2015), the Ljubljana Triennial U-3 (2016, cur. Z. Badovinac, B. Groys), (Steirischer Herbst 2022). etc. Her play “Global Congress of Post-Prostitution” was staged for the Steirischer Herbst festival, (Graz, 2019. Cur. E. Degot.). Her latest video play “Undead” was exhibited at the Steirischer Herbst 2022 show “War in the Distance”.

Alexandra/Sasha Talaver

PhD. Candidate Alexandra/Sasha Talaver (Gender Studies, CEU, Vienna). She focuses on the history of the women’s movement in the Soviet Union and co-edited the book Feminist Samizdat: 40 Years After (Moscow: commonplace, 2020). Sasha runs a telegram-channel about her research: https://t.me/bessmertnyipol.

Dr. des. Marina Vinnik

Studied documentary filmmaking in 2006 – 2011 VGIK (The Russian State University of Cinematography). Moved to Germany in 2016 to be a part of Meister-program at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig (class of Prof. Alba D’Urbano). In 2023 finished her Ph.D. thesis Reimagining the Canon: Women Artists in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation at Leipzig University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dr. Tanja Zimmermann.