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ISBN: PB: 9788024642666

University of Chicago Press, Karolinum Press

July 2021

250 pp.

25.4x17.7 cm


Queer Encounters with Communist Power

Non-Heterosexual Lives and the State in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1989

Not for sale in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic!

In the repressive context of East European Communist regimes, how did young girls and boys come to realize their sexuality? What did they do with that self-awareness – and later on, as adults, what strategies did they employ in their dealings with the regime? "Queer Encounters with Communist Power" answers these questions as it interweaves a groundbreaking queer oral history project with meticulous, original research into the discourse on homosexuality and transsexuality in Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989. Contrary to expectations, the book reveals that despite the Czechoslovak Communist regime's brutality in many areas of life, the state did not carry out a hateful or seditious campaign against homosexual and non-heterosexual people. Rather, the official state sexology offices functioned from the late 1970s onward as essentially the first gay clubs in socialist Czechoslovakia. Interweaving the memories of non-heterosexual Czech women born between 1929 and 1952, Vera Sokolova's study both enriches and challenges existing scholarship on lesbian and gay history during this era, promising to radically change the way we view gender, sexuality, and everyday life during East European socialism.

About the Author

Vera Sokolova is associate professor of history and chair of the Department of Gender Studies in Charles University's Faculty of Humanities. She is the author of "Cultural Politics of Ethnicity: Discourses on the Roma in Communist Czechoslovakia".