“Profiled cafes, beaches, and various associations”: Polish sexology, queerness, and the Cold War

Posted by Nicole Moran on January 9, 2020 at 1:58 pm


The development of LGBTQ identity and rights in Poland is usually situated in the 1980s when the first queer magazines were published and the first associations were founded. In this talk, I look at processes that set the stage for this development. I argue that sexologists and their texts contributed to the makings of the early discourse of LGBT rights in Poland. I analyze the shift in sexological discourse that occurred in the course of the 1970s. Sexological popular writings from the early 1970s were focused on the suffering of homosexuals and stressed the pathological character of their sexuality. But in between the lines, these articles referenced gay rights, while texts from the late 1970s were explicit about homosexual emancipation. I ask why sexologists started to write differently about homosexuality. I point to the patient-oriented character of Polish sexology as well as to political processes related to the Cold War.

 Agnieszka Kościańska is Associate Professor at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw. In 2016-2019, she was also a senior researcher in a HERA project (“Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures”). She is the author and (co)editor of several volumes on gender and sexuality, including the monographs, Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland (forthcoming with Indiana University Press, Polish version 2014) and To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet (forthcoming with Berghahn Books, Polish version 2017).

 The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The event will be followed by drinks.

For more information, see: https://arcgs.uva.nl/content/events/lectures/2020/jan/ko%C5%9Bcia%C5%84ska.html?origin=ITKqpwWeRl%2BpIA9WD97F3A.

When and Where:

Friday 17 January


in REC A2.09

University of Amsterdam


Robert J. Davidson
ARC-GS Program Manager

PhD Candidate

R.J.Davidson@uva.nl | arcgs@uva.nl | www.arcgs.uva.nl

+31 (0)6 5540 9494 | 3715

Available for ARC-GS Thurs | Fri

Postal Address: AISSR | Postbox 15718| 1001 NE Amsterdam

Visiting Address: Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam


Recently Published:

Davidson, Robert J. 2018. “Advocacy Beyond Identity: A Dutch Gay/Lesbian Organization’s Embrace of a Public Policy Strategy.” Journal of Homosexuality, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2018.1525944.


Davidson, Robert J. 2018. “Strategic Tradeoffs: Movement-Government Interactions and Dutch Gay and Lesbian Policy, 1986-1994.” Mobilization 23(2): 203-218.

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