UBC Lectures, Seminars, and Symposia

Thinking Europe from the Margins : European Imaginations and Identifications of Polish LGBTQs in the UK Szulc, Łukasz


Europe has recently become closely associated with LGBTQ rights. It remains unclear, however, what is the role of this association in everyday European imaginations and identifications. Empirical research on European identity hardly ever discusses the role of LGBTQ rights. Nor do we know much about European identifications of LGBTQ people themselves. In this lecture, Szulc addresses those gaps from the perspective of Polish LGBTQs in the UK. Drawing on thirty interviews from a recent two-year research project, Szulc discusses participants’ European imaginations and identifications by developing the concepts of ‘uncanny Europe’ and ‘protective Europeanness’. The lecture shows how participants tend to view Europe as “diverse,” “open,” and “tolerant,” while attributing those characteristics exclusively to Western Europe. Szulc will demonstrate that they tend to readily identify as European in the context of increasingly hostile national identities, with the growing anti-Polish xenophobia in the UK and increasing anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Poland.

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