Asja Novak: Albanian Sworn Virgins
Photo: Jill Peters


Monday, 8.3., at 18:00



In English

Free entry – recommended voluntary contribution


Asja Novak: Albanian Sworn Virgins

Tojbeli, better known by their English name Albanian sworn virgins, refers to individuals living in the south-western area of the Balkans who were assigned female at birth and transitioned into a masculine social role, either in childhood or later in life, for a variety of reasons related to patrilinear inheritance, arranged marriage, or gender identity. In the past fifteen years there has been a significant surge in popular journalistic English-language media writing on this topic, which, to my knowledge, is more than can be said for the local contexts.

Asja Novak‘s lecture attempts to introduce the topic to a more local audience as well as look at ways in which the western representations of Tojbeli engages in transphobic, colonial and balkanist discourse. In posing questions about the reasons behind the relative absence of knowledge of this topic within the local mainstream but also local queer activist discourse, the author looks precisely to such balkanist discourse for an answer. Making use of concepts of coloniality of gender, balkanism and homonationalism, the author points to a connection between the (neo-)colonial Eurocentricity of discourses on Tojbeli and the europeanisation of LGBTQIA+ politics in the area of former Yugoslavia.



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Asja Novak: Albanian Sworn Virgins