2014/5‎ > ‎

19 March 2015

We're pleased to announce the second Stadtkolloquium seminar of 2015, to be held Thursday, 19 March at LSE.

This month, we feature two papers exploring themes of gender and sexuality in urban research. Olga Petri (Cambridge Geography) will present 'Policing queer St Petersburg: male homosexual experience in early 20th century Russia'. Laura Marshall (UCL Geography) will present '(Trans)forming gender, disrupting dichotomies: exploring the lives of people with transgender identities and experiences'. Please find both abstracts below. 

The session will take place in the LSE St Clement's Building, Room STC.S78, from 16.30 to 18.00.

As always, wine and nibbles will be provided, and drinks at the White Horse afterwards are encouraged.

Olga Petri, PhD candidate, Cambridge Geography

Policing queer St. Petersburg: male homosexual experience in early 20th-century Russia

This paper is about the policing of homosexuality and the experience of homosexual men in St. Petersburg at the turn of twentieth century. I focus on men’s experience because the experience of members of the other major group targeted for sexual crimes, women prostitutes, has been thoroughly discussed. The experience of homosexual men remains an under-researched topic. In a city of autocratic power, policing played a multiple and contested role in controlling and reshaping people’s experience of the city. Published studies on homosexuality in a Russian imperial context do not fully tackle the issue of policing of homosexual behavior in the imperial capital. These studies shared an idea, based on contemporary published accounts, that, in contrast, for example, to London, imperial St. Petersburg experienced a form of relatively liberal homosexual expression and unobtrusive policing. In this paper, I draw upon previously unpublished materials of the Russian State Historical Archive, St. Petersburg to create a discourse about the role of policing in the forging of the experience of homosexual men in imperial St. Petersburg. The police attempted to constrain homosexual behavior in the city in a manner that may have escaped the attention of historians. The evidence suggests that the police collected detailed information about homosexual men in each city borough, and then used various categories of petty-crimes to persecute them and to limit homosexual cruising in the city’s public spaces. These new materials help to re-consider the experience of homosexual men in imperial city at a time of dramatic change.


Laura Marshall, MPhil candidate, UCL Geography

(Trans)forming gender, disrupting dichotomies: Exploring the lives of people with transgender identities and experiences

My doctoral research explores the experiences of transgender people in relation to particular socio-spatial contexts - the home, public spaces and medical settings- across the UK.  Through this project, I position a theoretical approach informed by strands of queer theory, transgender studies and non-representational geographies in an interplay with participants’ verbal, written and visual narratives.  In doing so, I am interested in thinking through points of dissonance and resonance between ways that transgender peoples’ identities, corporealities and subjectivities have been theorised and lived, particularly how participants’ narratives speak to theory in ways that are instructive.  Through this approach I seek to reveal and critically engage with complexities and nuances relating to the spatialising of cisnormative and heteronormative gender regimes and the production and disruption of the hegemonic binary gender order through embodied socio-spatial relations.  In this presentation I will draw from my previous research with transgender men to discuss how this informs and will be developed through my doctoral research.