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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLAV2430 Gender and Sexuality in Russia

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Sarah Hudspith

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is mutually exclusive with

SLAV2435Gender and Sexuality in Russia
SLAV3430Gender and Sexuality in Russia

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Gender, sex and sexuality are key human notions taken for granted. This module attempts to unpack the political and often contested nature of these concepts in relation to Russian culture which, at different stages, has been responsible for the most progressive and repressive views on gender and sexuality that continue to have impacts on communities around the world. How did gender politics operate in the communist state? How were gender and sexual identities encoded in a society that celebrated equality of various kinds? How were gender and sexuality used as an alternative platform for self-expression? What is the effect of the social revolution of the 1990s on the politics of gender and sexuality in post-Soviet Russia? What is the role of Russian literature, film and media in the construction of gender and sexual identities? What is the role of contemporary Russian politics and culture in advancing progressive and conservative views on gender and sexuality? These are some of the big questions this module attempts to tackle. These issues will be approached from a historical perspective with a large amount of time spent on contextualizing the politics of gender and sexuality. The specific focus of the module will be on representation of gender and sexuality in literature, film and media. No knowledge of Russian is required. Necessary Russian terms will be properly introduced in the course of the module.


The module introduces key concepts pertaining to theories of gender and sexuality and explores them in the context of Russian culture, focusing on the transformation of gender and sexuality caused by rapid political reforms. These concepts include ‘LGBT+’, ‘non-binarism’, ‘queerness’, ‘intersectionality, and others. The module focuses on the modes of repression, resistance and liberation, expressed in a range of texts including literature, film, music videos, and so on. The module considers the multi-cultural context of the Russian Federation, as well as touches upon the role of Russian queer communities in other countries. Through its focus on different kinds of Russia, including queer Russia, the module introduces students to global debates about gender and sexuality. The main objective of the module is to enable students to analyse and discuss the issues of gender and sexual identity in a specific cultural context and in relation to literary, cinematic and media texts. The use of recent and current literature in the field will enable students to appreciate the link between research in the field and their own learning.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the main theoretical concepts of gender and sexuality, and the evolution of those concepts in USSR and Russian Federation in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
2. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the role of state and alternative cultural institutions, primarily literature and film, in the construction of gender and sexual identities in the USSR and Russian Federation, of the key figures responsible for the (de)construction of Soviet gender and sexuality, and of the cultural discourse surrounding the issue of gender and sexuality in contemporary Russia.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of and an ability to apply a range of theoretical concepts and approaches to the analysis of literature and film.
4. Demonstrate an ability to identify, provide an account of and engage with key arguments and perspectives in relevant scholarship.
5. Demonstrate an ability to sustain an analytical argument in relation to the module content.
6. Communicate understanding of a chosen aspect of the module content by means of an oral presentation.


The module will introduce key theoretical concepts and cultural phenomena such as binarism and non-binarism, essentialism, hierarchies, patriarchy, hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculinities, queerness, intersectionality etc.

The module will offer a diverse syllabus including literary and visual texts by and about people of diverse gender and sexual identities. Works studied will vary from year to year.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading set texts viewing set films, reading recommended secondary sources, preparing for classes: 100 hours

Preparation for and undertaking assessments: 80 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive written feedback on the assessed literature review with a view to supporting their performance in the assessed essay. Student progress will also be monitored via participation in seminar discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words70.00
Literature Review1200 words30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:20:01


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