Julie Cassiday Shortlisted for the Pushkin House Book Prize

Headshot of Julie CassidayA new book by Julie Cassiday, Willcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit Professor of Russian, has been shortlisted for the Pushkin House Book Prize 2024. The prize “highlights books which combine excellence in research with readability, providing us with a better understanding of Russia’s history, culture and its people” (Pushkin).

Cassiday’s book, “Russian Style: Performing Gender, Power, and Putinism,” discusses the politics of gender and sexuality in Russian popular culture and was also featured in a recent edition of the Times Literary Supplement. Read the full review here.

By connecting gendered and sexualized citizenship to developments in Russian popular culture, Julie A. Cassiday argues that heteronormativity and homophobia became a kind of politicized style under Putin’s leadership. However, 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. 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. This smart and lively study provides critical, nuanced analysis of the relationship between popular culture and politics in Russia during Putin’s first two decades in power. (UW Press)