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

February 15 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

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. Dr Łukasz Szulc is a Lecturer in Digital Media and Society in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield and co-chair of the LGBTQ Studies Interest Group in the International Communication Association.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash, used under appropriate sharing licence.