Tracing the Effects of Soviet Gender and Sexual Politics in Central Asia

Date: 

Thursday, May 7, 2020, 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Location: 

Online Event

What role did gender and sexual ideologies play in the transition between the old tsarist regime and the Bolshevik program of modernization? Demolishing religious traditions prompted reconstruction of gender laws and manifestation of sexual freedom, including decriminalization of homosexuality, in a new Soviet socialist state. Construction of a new socialist modernity, including emancipation of women, however, excluded a wide range of same-sex practices and behavior in Russia’s former imperial borderlands like Central Asia. The goal of the Bolshevik campaign of massive unveiling of the 1920s, known as hujum, was part of a widespread “assault” against the “moldy old ways” of female seclusion and inequality (Northrop 2004). The campaign coincided with constraining sexual ambivalence in the region, including prohibiting male same-sex practices. The Soviet Uzbek Criminal Code of 1926, for instance, contained a number of articles prohibiting male same-sex relations.

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