Is Russian periphery as homophobic, doomed, and attuned to domesticity as the perpetuated paranoid understanding imagines it to be? In this lecture I aim to offer a reparative reading of Russian peripheral space suggesting to look at such queer modalities without any preconceptions of misery or struggle. My talk presents a reading into the entanglements at Russia’s queer periphery as I take a romp through space, time, and matter in the zigzagging memories of my informants. Establishing existing reparative potential through laying out the lack of prominent metropolitan aspirations, in my talk I show that peripheral assemblages of space and time produce queer disidentification. In discussing how these desiring bodies interact with the periphery through unfolding their queer imagination, I present the case of a queer(ed) trolleybus, arguing that if it serves as a perfect epitome of the way queer spaces assemble at the periphery, as the temporality of this enactment becomes obvious through the modus operandi of public transit itself. As I discuss how the space of the trolleybus is being queered, I tie it together with other examples of queering of the peripheral space, understanding them as being in conversation with this epitome as they follow similar principles of (de/re)territorialization of spatiotemporal assemblage.
Veronika Lapina is the 2017 Wayne Vucinich Fellow. Dr. Lapina got her Ph.D. in Sociology from European University at St. Petersburg in December 2016. Her doctoral research Queer Nomads: In-Country Mobility of Sexual Becomings in Russia offers a reparative reading of queer lives at Russia’s periphery trying to depart from a paranoid perspective where homophobia is seen as upholding the explanatory power over the way lives of non-heterosexual residents are structured. Borrowing analytical tools from new materialist philosophy, she explores the existing lacuna within the field of queer sexuality in Russia and challenges the metronormative perspective in studying post-Soviet sexualities. Her work discusses liminality, remembering, and affect-shame, and addresses questions of space-time-mattering.
She is using her fellowship to prepare a dissertation-based book proposal for Duke University Press.