Modernization of Sexuality and the Construction of Deviance in Soviet Lithuania (MoSeLit)

Rasa Navickaite's current project, MoSeLit, aims to provide a historical analysis of the formation of the understanding of queer sexuality as “deviance” in medical, criminological, educational and other discourses and practices in Lithuanian SSR, seeing it as a part of the bigger process of the socialist modernization of sexuality in general. Combining archival research with oral interviews, the project will shed light not only on the oppression of queer people, but also on the possibilities for subjectification and agency they had in this environment. By focusing on the cultural and intellectual history of state-socialist Eastern Europe the project will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the development of the modern discourses of sexuality and contemporary queer identities, and provide some insights into the historical context of the contemporary discrepancies in sexual norms and attitudes in Europe. Applying the insights from queer theory and postcolonial studies for the investigation into the Western borderlands of the Soviet Union, the project will also question the unidimensional narratives of modernization and or "backwardness" in the context of regulation of sexuality and the acceptance of LGBTQ people.