Julie A. Cassiday, "Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism" (U Wisconsin Press, 2023)


Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2023) provides a critical and nuanced analysis of the relationship between popular culture and politics in Russia during Vladimir Putin’s first two decades in power. It traces how the performance of Russian citizenship has been remolded according to a neoconservative agenda characterized by increasingly exaggerated gender roles. By connecting gendered and sexualized citizenship to developments in Russian popular culture, Julie Cassiday argues that heteronormativity and homophobia became a kind of politicized style under Putin’s leadership. Examining everything from memes to the Eurovision Song Contest and self-help literature, Cassiday untangles the discourse of gender to argue that drag, or travesti, became the performative trope par excellence in Putin's Russia. Provocatively, Cassiday further argues that the exaggerated expressions of gender demanded by Putin's regime are best understood as a form of cisgender drag. The book also demonstrates that while the multiple modes of gender performativity generated in Russian popular culture between 2000 and 2010 supported Putin's neoconservative agenda, they also helped citizens resist and protest the state's mandate of heteronormativity.

Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism has been shortlisted for the 2024 Pushkin House Book Prize.

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Tatiana Klepikova

Tatiana Klepikova is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Regensburg, where she leads a research group on queer literatures and cultures under socialism.

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