Valerie Sperling, professor of political science at Clark University and an expert on Russian politics and the politics of gender, will visit Hobart and William Smith to deliver a lecture, “Sex, Politics, and Putin: Masculinity and Russian Foreign Policy.”
The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 7, in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Sperling’s most recent book “Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia” (Oxford University Press) won the Davis Center Book Prize, given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, for the “outstanding monograph on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology or geography,” as well as the Heldt Prize from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for the “Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies.” In 2014, Russia Direct named “Sex, Politics and Putin” among its Top 10 books on Russia.
Fluent in Russian, Sperling interviewed pro- and anti-Putin political activists in 2011 about their paths to political activism. In 2012, she returned to interview young Russian feminists to learn about how they became interested in feminism and activism, as well as to hear their perspectives on the ways sexism, machismo, and homophobia are used in Russian politics.
At Clark University, Sperling teaches a variety of courses in Russian and comparative politics, including revolution and political violence, mass murder and genocide under communism, transitions to democracy, and globalization and democracy; as well as an introduction to women’s studies. Her research interests include globalization and accountability, social movements, gender politics, patriotism and militarism, and state-building in the post-communist region.
She earned her B.A. from Yale, M.A. from Georgetown University and her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.
Sperling’s visit is hosted by the Russian Area Studies Department, with support from the Political Science Department and the Office of the Provost.
NOTE: The lecture will include images with sexual content.