Queer lives and urban space: from Russia to the new Europe
The ESRC Fellowship provided the opportunity to consolidate research undertaken so far
Also to develop new conceptual frameworks to analyse European sexualities in a comparative perspective, advancing an intersectional research agenda attuned to national and local contexts.
Dr Francesca Stella's research included an ethnographic study on lesbian identities and queer space in contemporary urban Russia (2003-2008).
This study compared the experiences of women from Moscow and from provincial Ul'ianovsk, and an oral history project on lesbian existence in Soviet Russia (funded by the Carnegie Trust, 2010).
While much research and theorising within sexuality studies have focused on Anglo-speaking or Western European countries, and on metropolitan areas as major centres of gay consumer culture, sexualities in post-socialist Eastern Europe remain under-researched.
Her work engages with debates on the globalisation of sexualities, and uses ethnographic data to interrogate the unspoken biases of existing theory.
Moving beyond a narrow focus on 'gay' neighbourhoods and the commercial scene, her work embraces a more holistic notion of queer space through an exploration of women's everyday places, such as the parental home and the workplace, and by examining how certain very public urban locales such as the street are collectively appropriated as 'lesbian'.
The project is carried out on behalf of LSBU's Families and Social Capital Research Group.
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